CD Nomenclature 2015: Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigen Workshops as a Driving Force in Immunology

J Immunol. 2015 Nov 15;195(10):4555-63. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1502033.


CD (cluster of differentiation) Ags are cell surface molecules expressed on leukocytes and other cells relevant for the immune system. CD nomenclature has been universally adopted by the scientific community and is officially approved by the International Union of Immunological Societies and sanctioned by the World Health Organization. It provides a unified designation system for mAbs, as well as for the cell surface molecules that they recognize. This nomenclature was established by the Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens Workshops. In addition to defining the CD nomenclature, these workshops have been instrumental in identifying and determining the expression and function of cell surface molecules. Over the past 30 y, the data generated by the 10 Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens Workshops have led to the characterization and formal designation of more than 400 molecules. CD molecules are commonly used as cell markers, allowing the identification and isolation of leukocyte populations, subsets, and differentiation stages. mAbs against these molecules have proven to be essential for biomedical research and diagnosis, as well as in biotechnology. More recently, they have been recognized as invaluable tools for the treatment of several malignancies and autoimmune diseases. In this article, we describe how the CD nomenclature was established, present the official updated list of CD molecules, and provide a rationale for their usefulness in the 21st century.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology*
  • Antigens, CD / classification*
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Biomarkers
  • Humans
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD
  • Biomarkers