Ia antigens and two different types of complement (C) receptors appeared on membrane surfaces in a distinct sequence during the maturation of human neutrophils. Taking advantage of the finding that neutrophil celll density increased with maturation, density gradient centrifugation was used to separate neutrophils into fractions that were greatly enriched in cells representing individual stages of differentiation. Myeloblasts, the earliest cells recognized in the myeloid series of both normal and myelogenous leukemic individuals, expressed Ia determinants, whereas Ia determinants were absent or diminished on the majority of promyelocytes and completely undetectable on more mature granulocytes. Double marker studies demonstrated that Ia determinants were lost from the membrane of developing myeloid cells before the appearance of any type of C receptor. In the next phase of maturation defined by surface markers, neutrophils acquired a CR2-type C receptor (C3d receptor) that was similar in specificity to CR2 of B lymphocytes. This stage of maturation approximately corresponded to the myelocyte-metamyelocyte stage defined by standard morphologic criteria, and preceded the third stage of surface marker maturation when developing neutrophils began to express CR1-type C receptors (immune adherence, C4b-C3b receptors) in addition to CR2. In the final stage of surface marker-defined maturation, CR2 was lost from high density polymorphonuclear neutrophils and CR1 was maximally expressed. Normal blood polymorphonuclear neutrophils contained only 17% of CR2-bearing cells and these were shown to be of lower density than the majority of neutrophils that expressed only CR1. There was some variation in the correlation of surface marker expression and maturation stage defined by morphologic criteria, but in all cases the sequence of marker appearance was the same: Ia leads to CR2 leads to CR1CR2 leads to CR1.

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