Leucocyte cell lines are valuable tools for immunological studies. In this study the TO cell line, originating from Atlantic salmon head kidney leucocytes, is described with respect to enzyme cytochemistry, functional studies, reactivity with leucocyte specific antibodies and immune gene expression. Pronounced characteristics of the TO cell line are the rapid adherence to the plastic growth surface, high phagocytic capacity and bactericidal functions. No respiratory burst activity, and little or no NO production were detected under the experimental conditions tested, and thus the TO cells appear to have other effective killing mechanisms. The cells are reactive with a leucocyte specific monoclonal antibody (MAb), but does not bind a neutrophil specific MAb or stain for myeloperoxidase. Real-time RT-PCR showed the expression in TO cells of several immune genes, some of which were significantly regulated following LPS stimulation. The expression of CD83 might indicate a dendritic cell (DC) origin of the TO cells, as this marker is considered a hallmark for DC. Expression of TCR-alpha or the macrophage marker M-CSFR was not detected. Based on the present analyses the TO cells display a mixture of known characteristics for macrophages and DCs. At the same time the TO cells lack some central functions of phagocytic/myeloid cells. As the TO cells are developed to a long-term culture one cannot exclude that some functions might have been lost in this process. Nevertheless, the features of the TO cells indicate their potential as a model system for immunological studies of salmon phagocytic cells.