Peripheral blood lymphocytes from adult and adolescent chimpanzees, as well as adult humans, were studied for phenotypic surface markers by flow cytometry. Lymphocytes from chimpanzees were found to have increased numbers of Leu-1-, Leu-2+ cells as compared to humans. These cells, following preparative electronic cell sorting, were shown to possess natural killer function. Further analysis of this subpopulation indicated that they lacked responsiveness to a number of T-cell mitogens. The differences in lymphocyte subpopulations between chimpanzees and humans can almost be totally accounted for by the Leu-1-, Leu-2+ cells. Phylogenetic disparity between these two species may also be found within this population.
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