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J Exp Med. 2007 May 14;204(5):1181-91. Epub 2007 May 7.

Lymphomas can develop from B cells chronically helped by idiotype-specific T cells.

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Institute of Immunology, University of Oslo and Rikshospitalet-Radiumhospitalet Medical Center, Oslo, Norway.


B cell lymphomas have been associated with chronic infections and autoimmunity. However, most lymphomas develop in the absence of any known chronic antigenic stimulation. B cells process their highly diversified endogenous immunoglobulin and present clonally unique variable-region idiotypic (Id) peptides on their major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules to Id-specific T cells. We show that B cells chronically helped by Id-specific Th2 cells developed into large B cell lymphomas with cytogenetic DNA aberrations. The lymphomas expressed high amounts of Id, MHC class II, CD80/86, and CD40 and bidirectionally collaborated with Th2 cells. Thus, MHC class II-presented Id peptides may represent a chronic self-antigenic stimulus for T cell-dependent lymphomagenesis. Eventually, B lymphomas grew independent of T cells. Thus, T cells do not only eliminate cancers as currently believed. In fact, Id-specific Th2 cells can induce B lymphomas.

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