Cluster of Differentiation (CD Markers)

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The cluster of differentiation (CD) is a protocol used for the identification and investigation of cell surface molecules present on leukocytes. CD molecules can act in numerous ways, often acting as receptors or ligands (the molecule that activates a receptor) important to the cell. A signal cascade is usually initiated, altering the behavior of the cell (see cell signaling). Some CD proteins do not play a role in cell signaling, but have other functions, such as cell adhesion. There are approximately 250 different proteins.

 The CD nomenclature was proposed and established in the 1st International Workshop and Conference on Human Leukocyte Differentiation Antigens (HLDA). This system was intended for the classification of the many monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) generated by different laboratories around the world against epitopes on the surface molecules of leukocytes (white blood cells). Since then, its use has expanded to many other cell types, and more than 320 CD unique clusters and subclusters have been identified. The proposed surface molecule is assigned a CD number once two specific monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are shown to bind to the molecule. If the molecule has not been well-characterized, or has only one mAb, it is usually given the provisional indicator "w" (as in "CDw186").  

The CD system is commonly used as cell markers; this allows cells to be defined based on what molecules are present on their surface. These markers are often used to associate cells with certain immune functions or properties. While using one CD molecule to define populations is uncommon (though a few examples exist), combining markers has allowed for cell types with very specific definitions within the immune system.

  Reactivity of the most common antibodies (CD Markers) used in Flow Cytometric Evaluation of Hematolymphoid Neoplasms:


Antibody (CD) Reactivity
 CD1a  Thymocytes and immature T cells
 CD2  T cells, Large granular lymphocytes (LGL), NK cells, some APL, neoplastic mast cells
 CD3  T cells, primary effusion lymphoma
 CD4  T cells (helper/inducer), monocytes, myeloblasts, NK cell lymphoma
 CD5  T cells, B-CLL/SLLMCL
 CD7  T cells, some myeloblasts
 CD8  T cells (suppressor/cytotoxic), large granular lymphocytes (LGL)
 CD10  Follicle center cells, FL, some DLBCL, pre-B-ALLpre-T-ALL, thymocytes, BL
 CD11b  Granulocytes, monocytes
 CD11c  Monocytes, HCLLGL, activated T cells, MZL
 CD13  Myeloid cells, rare pre-B-ALL
 CD14  Monocytes
 CD15  Granulocytes, Hodgkin's lymphoma
 CD16  Granulocytes, NK cells, LGL
 CD19  B cells, pre B-ALL, subset of AML (AML1/ETO with t(8;21))
 CD20  B cells, rare plasma cell myelomas
 CD22  B cells
 CD23 B-CLL/SLL, plasma cells, follicular dendridic cells
 CD25 HCL, subset of B and T cell lymphomas
 CD30  Hodgkin's lymphoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, subset of DLBCL, subset of B cell lymphoma
 CD33  Myeloid cells, rare pre B-ALL, rare blastic NK lymphoma
 CD34  myeloblasts, lymphoblasts, endothelial cells
 CD38  Plasma cells, activated T and B cells, subset B-CLL/SLL, epithelial cells
 CD41  Megakaryocytes
 CD43  Myeloid cells, T-cell lymphoma, pre B ALLpre T ALL, B cell lymphoma (subset), plasma cells 
 CD56  NK cells, LGL
 CD57  NK cells, LGL
 CD61  Megakaryocytes
 CD79a  B cells, plasma cells, megakaryocytes
 CD103 HCL, rare T cell lymphomas
 CD117 AML, mast cells, stromal tumors (GIST), plasma cells
 bcl-2 Mature B cells, (except benign GCC), T cells, and FL
 Heavy Chains (IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD)  B cells, plasma cells, DLBCL with ALK expression
 HLA Dr AML (except APL), B cells monocytes
 Light chains (kappa or lambda)  B cells (surface), plasma cells (cytoplasmic)
 TdT pre-B-ALLpre-T-ALL, some AML and hematogones


For a complete list and description of the most current Cluster of Differentiation: 






CD molecules 2006--human cell differentiation molecules