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Blood. 2010 Dec 2;116(23):4926-33. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-05-283358. Epub 2010 Aug 23.

Persistent expression of the full genome of hepatitis C virus in B cells induces spontaneous development of B-cell lymphomas in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Phylaxiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Blood. 2011 May 26;117(21):5782-3.


Extrahepatic manifestations of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection occur in 40%-70% of HCV-infected patients. B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a typical extrahepatic manifestation frequently associated with HCV infection. The mechanism by which HCV infection of B cells leads to lymphoma remains unclear. Here we established HCV transgenic mice that express the full HCV genome in B cells (RzCD19Cre mice) and observed a 25.0% incidence of diffuse large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (22.2% in males and 29.6% in females) within 600 days after birth. Expression levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, as well as 32 different cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, were examined. The incidence of B-cell lymphoma was significantly correlated with only the level of soluble interleukin-2 receptor α subunit (sIL-2Rα) in RzCD19Cre mouse serum. All RzCD19Cre mice with substantially elevated serum sIL-2Rα levels (> 1000 pg/mL) developed B-cell lymphomas. Moreover, compared with tissues from control animals, the B-cell lymphoma tissues of RzCD19Cre mice expressed significantly higher levels of IL-2Rα. We show that the expression of HCV in B cells promotes non-Hodgkin-type diffuse B-cell lymphoma, and therefore, the RzCD19Cre mouse is a powerful model to study the mechanisms related to the development of HCV-associated B-cell lymphoma.

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