The mononuclear phagocyte system of the mouse defined by immunohistochemical localization of antigen F4/80. Relationship between macrophages, Langerhans cells, reticular cells, and dendritic cells in lymphoid and hematopoietic organs

J Exp Med. 1983 Nov 1;158(5):1522-36. doi: 10.1084/jem.158.5.1522.


The macrophage-specific antigen F4/80 has been localized in mouse lymphoid and hematopoietic tissue and skin using immunoperoxidase staining. The antigen permits identification of early mononuclear phagocyte precursors in the bone marrow, and is present also on larger cells forming the center of hematopoietic islands and lining vascular sinuses. In thymus F4/80+ cells are numerous in both cortex and medulla and are particularly concentrated around the corticomedullary region. In spleen, lymph node, and gut-associated lymphoid areas the major F4/80+ populations are in the red pulp, the medulla and subcapsular sinus, and the adjacent lamina propria, respectively. F4/80+ cells are rarely seen in T-dependent areas of lymph nodes, spleen, or Peyer's patch, but are present in large numbers in these areas during bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-induced inflammation. Macrophage infiltration occurs also in lymph nodes from athymic nu/nu mice and is therefore T cell independent. The interdigitating cell of T-dependent areas is F4/80-, but the Langerhans cell of the epidermis of the skin, which bears some ultrastructural resemblance to the interdigitating cell, is F4/80+. We conclude that the two cell types are probably not related.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis*
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Hematopoietic System / cytology*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Langerhans Cells / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymphatic System / cytology*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mononuclear Phagocyte System / cytology
  • Phagocytes / immunology*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / cytology


  • Antigens, Surface