Fluorescent antibody preparations of different colors and specificities have been used to determine the qualitative and quantitative distribution of four kinds of immunoglobulin polypeptide chains in human splenic tissue. Single cells were found to contain one kind of heavy chain and one kind of light chain, but rarely, if at all, did two kinds of light chain (κ and λ) coexist in a single cell. Similarly, the heavy chains, α and γ, appeared to be mutually exclusive. The relative frequency of the two kinds of light chains paralleled the relative serum concentrations of these moieties. Cells containing γ chains were slightly more frequent than cells containing α chains, but not to the extent anticipated by the relative serum concentrations of these two immunoglobulins.


This investigation was supported by United States Public Health Service Research Grants AI-05042 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and CA-02803 from the National Cancer Institute.

The nomenclature used in this paper is that adopted at the World Health Organization meeting on Nomenclature of Human Immunoglobulins (1).

A preliminary report concerning a portion of this work has been published (2).

This content is only available via PDF.