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Hum Pathol. 1999 Nov;30(11):1383-8.

HIV-associated Waldeyer's ring lymphoid hyperplasias: characterization of multinucleated giant cells and the role of Epstein-Barr virus.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA, USA.


Lymphoid hyperplasia of Waldeyer's ring (WR) is an often-symptomatic complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. A characteristic but not well explained finding is the presence of multinucleated giant cells (MNGCs) adjacent to crypt or surface epithelium. To further elucidate the MNGCs and assess their relationship to HIV and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), 12 specimens from 11 HIV-positive patients were stained with antibodies to HIV-1 p24, EBV (latent membrane protein, LMP-1), histiocytes (CD68), and other antigen-presenting cells: S-100 protein, the Langerhans cell (LC) marker CD1a, and the follicular dendritic cell (FDC) marker (CD21). Double immunofluorescent staining to assess co-expression of p24 and cell-specific markers was performed and analyzed by laser-scanning confocal microscopy with 3-dimensional reconstruction. In situ hybridization for EBV-encoded small RNA (EBER) was performed in all cases. Immunostains showed MNGCs labeled for p24, S-100, and CD68, but not CD1a. In 1 case, rare MNGCs were CD21-positive. EBV LMP-1 was uniformly negative, although EBER-positive lymphocytes were seen by in situ hybridization in 9 of 12 specimens (numerous in only 3 specimens). Double immunofluorescent staining showed co-localization of p24 with CD68 and S-100. Our results suggest that MNGCs are generally HIV-infected, EBV-negative, and most likely represent an unusual S-100-positive histiocyte subset (not LC or FDC). Their exact pathophysiologic role remains uncertain. EBV does not appear to play a major role in the pathogenesis of WR lymphoid hyperplasias in HIV infection.

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