The CD22 antigen (BL-CAM) is a type 1 integral membrane glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 130 to 140 kD. It is a heterodimer of two independently expressed glycoprotein chains present both on the membrane and in the cytoplasm of B lymphocytes. Expression of the CD22 antigen is reported to appear early in B cell lymphocyte differentiation at approximately the same stage as that of the CD19 antigen expression. Surface antigen expression is variable and may be lost upon differentiation. CD22 antigen is also reported to be weakly expressed on myeloid leukemias and non-T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias and is strongly expressed on hairy cell leukemias. It is absent on peripheral blood T cells, T cell leukemias, granulocytes and monocytes.
CD22 is recommended for the detection of specific antigens of interest in normal and neoplastic tissues, as an adjunct to conventional histopathology using non-immunologic histochemical stains.