In this study, we have used a mouse monoclonal antibody to rat Ia (RT1-B or class II) antigens to demonstrate, by immunofluorescence on frozen sections, intensely Ia-positive dendritic cells in the interstitial connective tissues of every tissue we have examined (heart, liver, thyroid, pancreas, skin, kidney, ureter, and bladder) with the striking exception of brain. The characteristics of the interstitial dendritic cell found in heart were studied in detail, and this cell was shown to be negative for acid phosphatase, beta-glucuronidase, and ATPase activity, and certainly some and probably all of the cells were negative for nonspecific esterase activity. Experiments with colloidal carbon suggested that the cell was either poorly or not at all phagocytic. The cells were negative for surface immunoglobulin and the W3/13 antigen, but positive for the leukocyte common antigen and the SD (Class I) antigens of the major histocompatibility complex. The cell was shown to be of bone marrow origin, and either the cell itself, or more probably its precursor, was shown to be sensitive to irradiation and to cyclophosphamide. All strains tested--including the nude rat--had large numbers of interstitial dendritic cells. The widespread distribution, except in brain, of this cell, which resembles in every respect the dendritic cell described by Steinman et al. (4) in the spleen and lymph nodes of the mouse, is of interest, and the implications in this finding are discussed.

This content is only available as a PDF.