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Cell Tissue Res. 1985;242(2):391-8.

The postnatal development of cell populations in the rat popliteal lymph node. An immunohistochemical study.


The postnatal development of the various cell populations in the rat popliteal lymph node was investigated applying enzyme-histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques. From birth, T-lymphocytes and interdigitating cells were demonstrable. During the development of the young lymph node, T-lymphocytes of the helper phenotype outnumbered the T-cells with a suppressor phenotype; they account for approximately 70% and 30% of all T-lymphocytes, respectively. At the very first day of postnatal life, post-capillary venules were already present. B-lymphocytes occurred later than T-cells during ontogeny; they were found on the second day after birth, most of them being IgM- or IgG-bearing lymphocytes. The first primary follicles occurred at day 18 and contained principally membrane-stained IgM cells and, to a lesser extent, membrane-stained IgG cells. The appearance of follicular dendritic cells correlated with the formation of primary follicles. With respect to the macrophages, it appeared that the ED1- and ED3-positive subpopulations were present with a similar distributional pattern as seen in adults, but in considerably lower numbers. The expression of ED2, however, showed a sudden increase in the third week of life. Findings of the present study are discussed in relation to those obtained in other investigations dealing with the ontogenetic development of lymphoid organs.

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