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J Virol. 2004 Apr;78(7):3462-9.

Primary central nervous system lymphoma expressing the human neurotropic polyomavirus, JC virus, genome.

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Center for Neurovirology and Cancer Biology, College of Science and Technology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.


B lymphocytes are known as a potential site for latency and reactivation of the human neurotropic polyomavirus, JC virus (JCV). In light of recent studies on the oncogenicity of JCV and the transforming ability of the JCV early protein, T antigen, we investigated the association of JCV with B-cell lymphomas of the central nervous system. Examination of 27 well-characterized clinical specimens by gene amplification and immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of DNA sequences corresponding to the JCV early genome and the late Agnoprotein in 22 samples and the JCV late genome encoding the viral capsid proteins in 8 samples. Expression of T antigen and that of Agnoprotein by immunohistochemistry were each detected in six specimens. No evidence of the production of viral capsid proteins was observed, ruling out productive infection of JCV in the tumor cells. The results from laser capture microdissection verified the presence of JCV T-antigen sequences in tumor cells with positive immunoreactivity to antibodies against the viral proteins T antigen and Agnoprotein. Due to previous reports demonstrating an association of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) with transformation of B lymphocytes, EBV DNA sequences and the EBV transforming protein, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), were analyzed in parallel. EBV LMP1 DNA sequences were detected in 16 of 23 samples, and LMP1 expression was detected in 16 samples, 5 of which exhibited positive immunoreactivity to JCV proteins. Double labeling demonstrated coexpression of JCV T antigen and EBV LMP1 in the same cells. The detection of the JCV genome in large numbers of B-cell lymphomas and its coexistence with EBV suggest a potential role for JCV in the pathogenesis of primary CNS lymphoma.

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