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Arthritis Res Ther. 2008;10(3):R55. doi: 10.1186/ar2424. Epub 2008 May 12.

Characteristics of T-cell large granular lymphocyte proliferations associated with neutropenia and inflammatory arthropathy.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pathomorphology, Institute of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine, I, Gandhi 14, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland. monika.prochorec@interia.pl

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

The purpose of this study was to analyze the data of patients with T-cell large granular lymphocyte (T-LGL) lymphocytosis associated with inflammatory arthropathy or with no arthritis symptoms.

METHODS:

Clinical, serological as well as histopathological, immunohistochemical, and flow cytometric evaluations of blood/bone marrow of 21 patients with T-LGL lymphocytosis were performed. The bone marrow samples were also investigated for T-cell receptor (TCR) and immunoglobulin (IG) gene rearrangements by polymerase chain reaction with heteroduplex analysis.

RESULTS:

Neutropenia was observed in 21 patients, splenomegaly in 10, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 9, unclassified arthritis resembling RA in 2, and autoimmune thyroiditis in 5 patients. T-LGL leukemia was recognized in 19 cases. Features of Felty syndrome were observed in all RA patients, representing a spectrum of T-LGL proliferations from reactive polyclonal through transitional between reactive and monoclonal to T-LGL leukemia. Bone marrow trephines from T-LGL leukemia patients showed interstitial clusters and intrasinusoidal linear infiltrations of CD3+/CD8+/CD57+/granzyme B+ lymphocytes, reactive lymphoid nodules, and decreased or normal granulocyte precursor count with left-shifted maturation. In three-color flow cytometry (FCM), T-LGL leukemia cells demonstrated CD2, CD3, and CD8 expression as well as a combination of CD16, CD56, or CD57. Abnormalities of other T-cell antigen expressions (especially CD5, CD7, and CD43) were also detected. In patients with polyclonal T-LGL lymphocytosis, T cells were dispersed in the bone marrow and the expression of pan-T-cell antigens in FCM was normal. Molecular studies revealed TCRB and TCRG gene rearrangements in 13 patients and TCRB, TCRG, and TCRD in 4 patients. The most frequently rearranged regions of variable genes were Vbeta-Jbeta1, Jbeta2 and Vgamma If Vgamma10-Jgamma. Moreover, in 4 patients, additional rearrangements of IG kappa and lambda variable genes of B cells were also observed.

CONCLUSION:

RA and neutropenia patients represented a continuous spectrum of T-LGL proliferations, although monoclonal expansions were most frequently observed. The histopathological pattern and immunophenotype of bone marrow infiltration as well as molecular characteristics were similar in T-LGL leukemia patients with and without arthritis.

PMID:
18474096
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2483444
Free PMC Article
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