By indirect immunofluorescence and microcytotoxicity it was demonstrated that different populations of murine macrophages bear different amounts of Ia antigens on their membranes. At least three subpopulations could be distinguished: those that lack Ia antigens and predominate in peritoneal exudate; cells bearing I-A antigens that are the majority of splenic macrophages and a minor population in the peritoneum; and cells bearing I-C antigens that are a minor population in both spleen and peritoneum. Internal radioisotope labeling studies confirmed that the I region molecules are synthesized by the macrophages. It is suggested that these different macrophage subpopulations may play distinct roles in the immune response.


This work was supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grant 1-R01-AI-13782-01.

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