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Lab Invest. 1999 Jan;79(1):3-14.

Splenic marginal zone B-cell and thymic T-cell lymphomas in p53-deficient mice.

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  • 1Veterinary and Tumor Pathology Section, Animal Sciences Branch, Office of Laboratory Animal Resources, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


The molecular pathology and histogenesis of lymphomas in 56 retired breeder male and 14 12-week-old male homozygous p53-deficient (p53-/-) mice (C57BL/6TacfBR-[KO]p53 N4) were evaluated. Lymphomas were assessed by serial morphologic techniques, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry, and analysis of T cell receptor (TCR) or immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene rearrangements. We found two common types of lymphomas. T-cell lymphomas arose in the thymus through a sequence of lymphocyte depletion, medullary hyperplasia, and unilateral lymphoma. Tumor cells were CD3+, CD90+, and usually TCRalpha/beta+ and possessed clonal TCRbeta gene rearrangements. Thymic lymphoblastic lymphomas (LL) were highly malignant and quickly metastasized to the splenic white pulp and liver, even when the thymus was only slightly increased in weight. In the spleen, a novel lymphoma was found. Marginal zone hyperplasia led to marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), a well-differentiated lymphoma that usually expressed CD45R (B220) and CD5 at low levels and that had clonal IgH gene rearrangements. IgH gene rearrangements were also seen in spleens with marginal zone hyperplasias only. Hyperplastic and neoplastic marginal zone B cells expressed IgM at low to normal levels, as seen by FACS analysis and immunohistochemistry. These tumors only metastasized to the liver at a later stage, as they became less differentiated. Several mice had both types of tumors present in the spleen. Two B-cell lymphoblastic lymphomas of uncertain origin were also found. In this article, we discuss the possible mechanisms responsible for development of the lymphomas seen in these p53-deficient mice.

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