The ontogeny of lymphocytes expressing J chain in the cytoplasm (J+) was studied in pig foetuses by the immunofluorescent technique. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were the first J+ cells in prenatal life. The spleen and lymph nodes contained J+ cells in the last days of gestation. J+ cells were found in the lamina propria of the gut and some glands of conventional but not of germ-free piglets. J chain was not detected on or in cell membranes at any developmental stage. © 1985.