CD45 isoform expression patterns were examined in various mast and monocyte cell populations. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT/PCR) and Southern analysis showed these myeloid cells express characteristic sets of CD45 isoforms. Mast cells produce mRNA for two splice variants, one containing exons 5, 7 and 8 of the alternatively expressed exons (therefore lacking exons 4 and 6) and another containing variable exons 7 and 8. Monocytes express three prominent CD45 mRNA species, one which includes exons 5, 7 and 8, another with exons 7 and 8 and the third containing only exon 8 of the variable exons. These results show that there are clear differences within the myeloid lineage sub-populations with respect to CD45 exon usage which appear to delineate mast cell and monocyte specific patterns.