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Abstract

The tissue distribution of the murine macrophage-specific antigen F4/80 has been analysed using an immunohistochemical technique. The antigen is observed on all known macrophage populations (including Kupffer cells and bronchoalveolar macrophages) and is absent from any cell types that are definitely not mononuclear phagocytes. Microglial cells from brain express F4/80. F4/80+ macrophages observed associated with epithelia can be divided into two categories, intraepithelial and periepithelial. The former includes epidermal Langerhans cells and cells with similar morphology in other stratified squamous epithelia (cervix, oesophagus), pseudostratified epithelium (trachea), transitional epithelium of urinary bladder, and simple epithelia lining various ducts (salivary gland, common bile duct, tracheobronchial gland). Periepithelial F4/80+ cells, apparently spread immediately below the basal lamina, are associated with simple epithelia throughout the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and male and female reproductive tract as well as the brain ependyma. A major class of periepithelial F4/80+ cells is associated with capillaries throughout the microcirulation. The role of these macrophage populations in control of epithelial function is discussed.