Lectin-binding patterns of small lymphocytes in bone marrow, thymus and spleen: demonstration of lymphocyte subsets by quantitative radioautography
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Cells from mouse bone marrow, thymus and spleen were exposed to 125I-labeled concanavalin A (Con A). Lens culinaris lectin (LCL), soybean agglutinin (SBA), Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA), phytohemagglutinin-P (PHA-P), peanut agglutinin (PNA), or wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) in a range of concentrations and examined radioautographically. Small lymphocytes in the three organs differed in the minimal concentration of each lectin which gave detectable surface labeling, while at optimal lectin concentrations, their labeling intensity profiles differed markedly. Inhibition by sugars demonstrated the labeling specificity. Major populations of bone marrow small lymphocytes bound WGA strongly, while Con A, SBA, HPA, PHA-P and LCL were bound only weakly, and PNA binding was lacking. Most thymus cells bound Con A, SBA, HPA, PHA-P and PNA strongly, WGA and LCL weakly. Subsets of bone marrow and thymus small lymphocytes differed from the major populations in their lectin-binding intensities. Spleen small lymphocytes were heterogeneous in the binding of each lectin. However, a major population bound LCL exceptionally strongly, while few cells bound PNA. Using a panel of lectins under standardized conditions, these studies show distinctive lectin-binding patterns for small lymphocytes in the bone marrow, thymus and spleen, respectively. Major and minor cell populations are distinguishable in each organ, providing an approach to discriminating lymphocyte lineages, subtypes and differentiation stages.
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