A recently developed oral immunisation model in pigs in which F4 (K88) fimbriae of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli are administered to induce a protective intestinal immunity, was used to determine the optimal inductive sites of the F4-specific intestinal immune response. Hereto, pigs were immunised with F4 orally, in the lumen of the mid-jejunum, ileum or mid-colon. Throughout the small intestine, the highest number of ASC was found following jejunal immunisation, followed by ileal, oral and colonic immunisation. To determine the signifance of Peyer's patches in the induced immune response, F4 was injected into the jejunal Peyer's patches (JPP), lamina propria (LP) and ileal Peyer's patches (IPP). Immunisation in the JPP induced the highest number ASC in the small intestine, whereas immunisation in the LP and IPP resulted in lower intestinal antibody responses. In conclusion, we have shown that the JPP are the major inductive sites of the F4-specific intestinal antibody response. This knowledge could be important when using the pig as an animal model for vaccination studies. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.