An infrequent (2-3%) B lymphocyte subpopulation was found in the normal human tonsil and lymph nodes that shows the phenotypic characteristics of B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) (rosette formation with mouse erythrocytes, weak expression of membrane Ig, staining for HLA-DR, and OKT1 or Leu-1 detecting a T cell-associated p65 antigen). Preliminary evidence suggests that at least a subpopulation of these cells is found, in small proportions, within the germinal centers. These cells were not observed in the human bone marrow. B-CLL may involve this peripheral B lymphocyte subset.

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