To facilitate a detailed investigation of cetacean lymphoid organs, 13 canine-, six bovine-, one equine-, one human- and four killer whale-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against cell surface antigens of the haematopoietic system (including CD2, CD4, CD8, CD45R, MHC class II, granulocyte, thrombocyte, pan-T cell and B-cell antigen), as well as a mAb and a polyclonal antibody (pAb) directed against the -peptide of the human CD3 complex, were tested for immunohistochemical cross-reactivity on frozen or formalin-fixed, paraffin wax-embedded lymphatic tissues of harbour porpoises. Eight of 26 mAbs and the pAb showed a specific reaction with harbour porpoise cells. Lymphocytes in T-cell compartments were labelled by the mAb and the pAb directed against the CD3 complex and by two killer whale mAbs specific for CD2 antigen. CD45R, labelled by a killer whale-specific mAb, was strongly expressed on B and weakly on T cells. MHC class II antigen, recognized by killer whale- and bovine-specific mAbs, was expressed on B and T cells. A canine MHC class II-specific mAb recognized an epitope on the surface of antigen-presenting cells and B lymphocytes. An anti-equine-pan-leucocyte marker labelled the majority of cells in B- and T-cell compartments. Thus, with leucocyte antigen markers from various species, it is now possible to determine the phenotype of lymphocytes in normal and diseased lymphoid organs of harbour porpoises.
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