B cell-enriched preparations were prepared from human peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues by the depletion of T cells and monocytes. Only B cells by virtue of their staining with anti-B1 conjugated to fluorescein were additionally examined. Dual fluorescence staining and flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that the majority of "resting" human peripheral blood and splenic B cells co-express the B cell-restricted B1 and B2 antigens and lack B5, a B cell-restricted activation antigen, and interleukin 2 receptor (IL 2R). In contrast, nearly 2/3 and 1/3 of B1+ cells isolated from lymph node expressed IL 2R and B5 antigens, respectively. When B1+ B cells from peripheral blood and spleen were "activated" by anti-Ig, they lost the B2 antigen and acquired the B5 and/or IL 2R antigens. 2/3 of B1+ cells strongly expressed IL 2R, and up to 1/2 of B1+ cells co-expressed B5. Delineation of increased numbers of B1+ cells that co-express B5 and/or IL 2R within lymphoid tissues obtained from patients with diseases characterized by "activated" B cells provides in vivo confirmation that these phenotypic changes correlate with B cell activation. We believe that the identification and isolation of these and similar subsets of cells defined by differing cell surface phenotypes should further our understanding both of normal B cell activation and the pathophysiology of B cell disease states.

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