GP2, a GPI-anchored glycoprotein, is a useful marker of M cells in Peyer’s patches. Our immunostaining of the paranasal sinuses in mice detected a condensed distribution of GP2-immunoreactive cells within the epithelium, apart from lymphoid tissues. In the paranasal sinuses, the cells exhibited a unique morphology characterized by a slender neck portion and huge terminal bulb, quite different from M cells. Electron microscopically, the GP2 immunoreactivity centered on the luminal plasma membrane of the terminal bulb, being less intense in the baso-lateral plasma membrane and not visible at all in the cytoplasm. The cells frequently came in contact with nerve fibers containing small synaptic vesicles. These nerve fibers contained neither CGRP nor substance P—indicators of sensory neurons; moreover, no signal molecules used for a sensory function were expressed in the GP2-immunoreactive cells, implying that these nerves are efferent in nature. A weak but significant stainability in PAS reaction and an intense GP2 immunoreactivity for typical goblet cells in the tunica conjunctiva suggest that the GP2-expressing cells in paranasal sinuses are in the lineage of goblet cells.
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