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Blood. 2001 Apr 1;97(7):2130-6.

Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infects monotypic (IgM lambda) but polyclonal naive B cells in Castleman disease and associated lymphoproliferative disorders.

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Department of Histopathology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Erratum in

  • Blood 2001 Jun 1;97(11):3678.


In a previous study, it was shown that the Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) was specifically associated with monotypic (IgMlambda) plasmablasts in multicentric Castleman disease (MCD). The plasmablasts occur as isolated cells in the mantle zone of B-cell follicles but may form microlymphoma or frank plasmablastic lymphoma. To determine the clonality and cellular origin of the monotypic plasmablasts, the rearranged Ig genes in 13 patients with KSHV-related MCD, including 8 cases with microlymphomas and 2 with frank lymphomas, were studied. To investigate the role of the interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor signaling in the pathogenesis of MCD and associated lymphoproliferative disorders, viral IL-6 and human IL-6 receptor expression was examined. KSHV-positive plasmablasts were polyclonal in MCD-involved lymphoid tissues in all cases and microlymphomas in 6 of 8 cases. Monoclonal KSHV-positive plasmablasts were seen in microlymphomas of 2 cases and in both frank lymphomas. Despite their mature phenotype, KSHV-positive plasmablasts did not harbor somatic mutations in the rearranged Ig genes, indicating origination from naive B cells. Viral IL-6 was expressed in 10% to 15% of KSHV-positive plasmablasts, whereas the human IL-6 receptor was expressed in most KSHV-positive cells. Thus, KSHV infects monotypic but polyclonal naive B cells and is associated with a range of lymphoproliferative disorders from polyclonal isolated plasmablasts and microlymphomas to monoclonal microlymphoma and frank plasmablastic lymphomas in MCD patients. Activation of the IL-6 receptor signaling pathway may play a role in differentiation of KSHV-infected naive B cells into plasmablasts and development of lymphoproliferative lesions. (Blood. 2001;97:2130-2136).

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