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Created in collaboration with Alessandro Rizzo, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge.
The immune system consists of many different cell types, whose functions and interactions govern the immune response. In research, the specific composition of cell surface antigens is exploited to accurately define the different cell types. Immunophenotyping by flow cytometry is the most common method to identify, quantify, and isolate immune cells within mixed populations. However, selecting which antigens are best to identify a specific cell type can be challenging due to the vast number of research articles and lack of consensus around immunophenotyping panels.
In response to this issue, we have reviewed over 250 research articles studying human and mouse cells and compiled the most commonly used markers for each immune cell type. With this selection, you can quickly and easily build your own immunophenotyping panel, freeing up more of your time for research.
Many immune cell markers are named following the clusters of differentiation (CD) nomenclature, aimed at providing targets for cell immunophenotyping. In the table below we have summarized the relevant CD markers for the identification and quantification of both human and mouse immune cells.
For each CD marker, we strive to provide antibodies tested in several applications to guarantee sensitivity and specificity. Please see example data below for WB, ICC, IHC, and flow cytometry with our recombinant anti-integrin alpha 5 antibody (ab150361). Find out more about recombinant antibodies.
Image A (top left): Western blot analysis of ab150361 in human bladder (lane 1), HT-1080 (lane 2), HeLa (lane 3), and U937 (lane 4) cell lysates. Image B (top right): Immunofluorescent analysis of ab150361 (green) in U937 cells. The nuclear counterstain is DAPI (blue). Image C (bottom left): Immunohistochemical analysis of ab150361 in human kidney tissue. Image D (bottom right): Overlay histogram showing HeLa cells stained with ab150361 (red line). Isotype control antibody (black line) and unlabel
led sample (blue line) were used as controls.
In the tables below, markers are accompanied with “+” or a “–” symbol to indicate whether the specific cell type expresses (+) or lacks (-) the antigen (eg CD10+ indicates a cell type expressing CD10). In some cases, markers are accompanied with “high” or “low”, indicating different degrees of expression.
|Hematopoietic stem cells (HSC)||CD34+, CD38-, CD45RA-, CD49+, CD90/Thy1+ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Multi-potent progenitor (MPP)||CD34+, CD38-, CD45RA-, CD90/Thy1- 3, 7, 8, 6, 9|
|Common lymphoid progenitor (CLP)||CD34+, CD38+, CD10+, CD45RA+ 3, 10|
|Common myeloid progenitor (CMP)||CD34+, CD38+, CD7-, CD10-, CD45RA-, CD90/Thy1-, CD135+ 7, 9, 11, 12|
|Megakaryocyte–erythroid progenitor (MEP)||CD34+, CD38+, CD7-, CD10-, CD45RA-, CD135-, IL3Rα- 7, 11, 12, 13, 14|
|Granulocyte-monocyte progenitor (GMP)||CD34+, CD38+, CD10-, CD45RA+, CD123+, CD135+ 7, 11, 12, 14, 15|
|Natural killer cell*||CD3-, CD56+, CD94+, NKp46+ 16, 17, 18, 19, 20|
|T-cell*||CD3+ 20, 21, 22|
|B-cell*||CD19+ 20, 23, 24, 25, 26|
|Monocyte*||CD14+ 14, 26, 27|
|Macrophage*||CD11b+, CD68+, CD163+ 28, 29|
|Dendritic cell*||CD11c+, HLA-DR+ 14, 30|
|Neutrophil||CD11b+, CD16+, CD18+, CD32+, CD44+, CD55+ 20, 26, 31, 32, 33|
|Eosinophil||CD45+, CD125+, CD193+, F4/80+, Siglec-8+ 14, 20, 34, 35, 36|
|Basophil||CD19-, CD22+, CD45low, CD123+ 14, 20, 37, 38|
|Mast cell||CD32+, CD33+, CD117+, CD203c+, FcεRI+ 39, 40, 41|
|Erythrocyte||CD235a+ 26, 42|
|Megakaryocyte||CD41b+, CD42a+, CD42b+, CD61+ 13, 14, 43|
|Long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSC)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD34-, CD48-, CD49blow, CD135-, CD150+ 5, 11, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49|
|Intermediate-term hematopoietic stem cells (IT-HSC)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD34-, CD49high, CD135-, CD150+ 11, 46, 50, 51|
|Short-term hemotopoietic stem cells (ST-HSC)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD34+, CD48-, CD135-, CD150- 4, 52, 53, 54|
|Multi-potent progenitor (MPP)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD34+, CD48-, CD135+ 11, 52, 55|
|Lymphoid-primed multi-potent progenitor (LMPP)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD34+, CD127+, CD135+ 11, 56, 57|
|Common lymphoid progenitor (CLP)||Sca-1+, CD117+, CD93+, CD127+, CD135+ 10, 11, 58, 59|
|Common myeloid progenitor (CMP)||CD117+, CD16/32-, CD34+, CD41+, Sca-1- 4, 11, 56, 57|
|Granulocyte-monocyte progenitor (GMP)||CD117+, CD16/32+, CD34+, CD64+, Sca-1- 4, 11, 57|
|Megakaryocyte–erythroid progenitor (MEP)||CD117+, CD16/32-, CD34-, CD64-, CD127-, Sca-1- 4, 11, 57, 60|
|Natural killer cell*||CD11b+, CD122+, NK1.1+, NKG2D+, NKp46+ 58, 61|
|T-cell*||CD3+ 41, 62|
|Monocyte*||CD11b+, CD115+, CX3CR1+, Ly6C+ 27, 64, 65|
|Macrophage*||CD45+, CD64+, F4/80+, MerTK+ 65, 66, 67|
|Dendritic cell*||CD11c+, CD24+, CD45+, MHC II+, Siglec-F- 30, 66, 67|
|Neutrophil||CD11b+, CXCR4+, MHC II-, Gr-1+ (Ly-6G+), Siglec-F- 66, 68, 69, 70, 71|
|Eosinophil||CCR3+, CD11b+, IL-5Rα+, MHC II-, Siglec-F+ 34, 66, 68, 71, 72|
|Basophil||CD41+, CD49b+, CD117-, FcεRI+ 73, 74, 75|
|Mast cell||CD45+, CD117+, FcεRI+, Integrin β7+ 76, 77, 78, 79|
|Erythrocyte||Ter119+ 80, 81|
|Megakaryocyte||CD9+, CD41+, CD42b+, CD117+, CD150+, CXCR4+ 60, 82, 83, 84, 85|
|Platelet||CD9+, CD41+, GPIa/IIa+, GPIb/V/IX+, GPVI+ 81, 85, 86, 87, 88|
* Markers given for these cell types are common to all subsets (eg T-cell markers are common to killer, helper, and regulatory T cells).
Immunology research is progressing at an astonishing rate, and challenges to long-accepted ideas are being made with increasing frequency. We have presented the cell lineage here in the classical hierarchical format, progressing from a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC), through the various progenitors, and finally to the cells of lymphoid and myeloid lineage.
While this model remains the accepted standard, it is important to be aware that some research questions this, and some propose an alternative route of lineage development for progenitor cells. For a detailed look at the lineage development and commitment of immune cell progenitors, we suggest reviewing the excellent research in references 89, 90, and 91. However, these potential lineage adjustments do not affect the cell markers described here.