The physical properties of lymphocytes are likely to be heterogeneous as are their functional properties. Thus, thymus-derived (T)1 lymphocytes are functionally distinct from bone marrow-derived (B) lymphocytes and this distinction is reflected not only in the presence or absence of easily detectable immunoglobulin on the cell surface (1), but also in the buoyant density of these cells as determined by velocity sedimentation (2) and their surface charge as measured by electrophoretic mobility (3, 4).

The lymphocyte's ability to migrate across post-capillary venules (5) may depend on general physical properties such as cell size and membrane charge adhesiveness and deformability. T lymphocytes differ from B lymphocytes in their migration and recirculation patterns (2, 6). T cells gain access to extravascular spaces such as chylous effusions more easily than B cells (7). The elegant studies of erythrocyte deformability as measured by passive filtration through polycarbonate sieves of defined pore size (8–11) led us to adapt this technique to the study of lymphocytes.


Abbreviations used in this paper: T, thymus derived; B, bone marrow derived; LNC, lymph node cell.

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