The density of total Ig and of IgM, IgG1, IgG2, and IgA on the surface of adult murine splenic B lymphocytes was measured using the technique of rapid flow microfluorometry. In addition, the density of total surface Ig and of IgM on B lymphocytes derived from adult bone marrow, lymph nodes, and Peyer's patches, and from neonatal spleen was determined. Adult spleen and lymph node B lymphocytes are characterized by the presence of a large population of cells with a low-to-intermediate density of total surface Ig, which is seen as a peak in the fluorescence profiles when these cells are labeled with fluorescein-conjugated (F1) anti-Ig. This peak is not detected when neonatal spleen or adult bone marrow are examined; the development of this peak among spleen cells occurs during the first 4 wk of life. Although the characteristic fluorescence intensity peak is not seen when adult spleen cells are labeled with Fl anti-mu, changes in the density of surface IgM do occur during the first few weeks of life and are detected as a decrease in the frequency of cells which have relatively large amounts of surface IgM. The differences seen in the fluorescence patterns of adult spleen cells labeled with Fl anti-Ig and Fl anti-mu may be due to the appearance of IgD on the surface of mature splenic B lymphocytes. This is supported by the similarity of the fluorescence profiles of adult bone marrow cells stained with Fl anti-Ig and Fl anti-mu, as the latter population of cells is reported to lack surface IgD.

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