Recently we developed mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against the isolated human 175-kDa mannose receptor. In the present study we tested whether these mAb are suitable for the detection of the mannose receptor on cultured macrophages using flow cytometry and on cells in human tissues using immunohistochemistry. Human monocytes did not react with the mAb in flow cytometry. Mannose receptor expression became detectable on monocytes cultured for 3 days (macrophages), and was maximal from 4 days onward. The mannose receptor was up-regulated on dexamethasone-treated (immunosuppressed) macrophages, and down-regulated on lipopolysaccharide-treated (activated) macrophages. Immunohistochemically the staining pattern of our mAb was compared with the marker of monocytes/macrophages KP1. In a bone marrow smear, only macrophages were stained with our mAb, whereas all myeloid cells were stained with KP1. In the thymus and lymph node, mannose receptor-positive branched cells (macrophages and dendritic cells) were detected in connective tissue, thymus cortex (not medulla), and in the T cell area (not the B cell area) of lymph nodes, whereas KP1 stained branched cells in all areas. It was concluded that the mAb are useful tools in flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry for the specific detection of cells expressing mannose receptor.