CD Markers

Topic Completed: 1 August 2013

Minor changes: 1 October 2020

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: CD2[TI] review[ptyp]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. CD2. website. Accessed April 18th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Early T cell marker expressed on all peripheral blood T cells, 95% of thymocytes (OMIM #186990), NK cells (J Biol Chem 2010;285:41755) but no B cells
  • Gene is at 1p13.1; protein is member of immunoglobulin superfamily
  • Also called E rosette receptor, because CD2 antibodies inhibit formation of rosettes with sheep erythrocytes
  • Also called LFA2 (leukocyte function antigen), T11
  • Binds CD58 (LFA3) on antigen presenting cells, which enables T cells to respond to lower concentrations of antigen (J Exp Med 1999;190:1383)
  • Mediates adhesion between T cells and antigen presenting cells, induces costimulatory signals in T cells and T cell cytokine production, inhibits apoptosis of activated peripheral T cells (Immunology 2013;139:48)
  • Regulates T cell anergy
  • Regulates T and NK mediated cytolysis
  • CD2 distinguishes two subsets of human plasmacytoid dendritic cells with distinct phenotype and functions (J Immunol 2009;182:6815); CD2(low) plasmacytoid dendritic cells are depleted in HIV+ patients (Cell Mol Immunol 2011;8:441)
  • CD2 promotes NK cell membrane nanotube formation (PLoS One 2012;7:e47664)
Diagrams / tables

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T cells and antigen presenting cells

Clinical features
Uses by pathologists
  • T cell marker (membranous staining), although CD3 is more commonly used
  • Marker of systemic mastocytosis
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Liver biopsy: hepatosplenic T cell lymphoma (fig b)

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Lymph node: hydroavacciniforme-like lymphoma (fig E)

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Lymph node: anaplastic large cell lymphoma

Positive staining - normal
  • Thymocytes (95%), mature peripheral T cells (almost all), NK cells (80 - 90%), mast cells
  • Variable thymic B cells (50%), Langerhans cells
Positive staining - disease
Negative staining
Definition / general
  • CD2 epitope present on activated T cells, unmasked by conformational change of CD2 glycoprotein during activation
  • No recent articles in literature

Uses by pathologists
  • No significant clinical use by pathologists

Positive staining - normal
  • Activated T cells

Positive staining - disease
  • Blood and synovial fluid T cells in rheumatoid arthritis; peripheral blood T cells in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, ankylosing spondylitis and Lyme disease (Scand J Immunol 1991;34:351)

Negative staining
  • Resting T cells
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