The present study concerns the isolation, characterization, origin, and kinetics of spleen macrophages. The spleen was first perfused in situ to remove monocytes from the vascular bed and then dissected and treated with collagenase. The macrophages in the cell suspension thus obtained were characterized morphologically and cytochemically and then quantitated. The spleen cell suspension was incubated for 24 h in Leighton tubes to obtain an enriched glass-adherent population of macrophages for characterization and [3H]thymidine-labeling studies. Almost all of the adhering macrophages were esterase positive, had Fc and C3b receptors, and ingested EIgG and opsonized bacteria. In vitro labeling with [3H]thymidine showed that approximately 5% of the mononuclear phagocytes in the spleen synthesize DNA and must be considered to be dividing cells. The course of the number of labeled monocytes and macrophages after a single injection of [3H]thymidine indicates migration of monocytes into the spleen, where they become macrophages. Calculation of the influx of monocytes into the spleen and of the local production of macrophages by DNA-synthesizing mononuclear phagocytes showed that under steady-state conditions, 55% of the population of spleen macrophages is supplied by monocyte influx and 45% by local production. This means that there is a dual origin of spleen macrophages. The mean turnover time calculated with the value for the efflux of spleen macrophages is 6.0 d.

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