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Clin Exp Immunol. 1985 Feb;59(2):257-66.

An immunohistological approach to persistent lymphadenopathy and its relevance to AIDS.


Recent evidence has shown that not only AIDS but also the majority of 'unexplained' persistent, generalized lymphadenopathy (PGL) are related to HTLV-III/LAV infections. The early detection how these changes may proceed to AIDS then become a prime interest. Eleven patients with PGL (10 homosexual males and one heterosexual haemophiliac) have been studied by immunohistology using monoclonal antibodies to dendritic reticulum cells of the germinal centre, T and B lymphocyte subsets, plasma cells and factor VIII, as an endothelial marker. In six cases only follicular and paracortical hyperplasia was detected, while in five other cases destruction of the dendritic reticulum cell network was seen with this sensitive method. This early destruction may explain the release of activated B cells into the circulation and prove to be an ominous prognostic sign, as it appears to correlate with 'prodromal' symptoms. In four out of 11 cases the depletion of T4+ cells in the paracortex was not as severe as in the blood, indicating that T4+ cells may preferentially settle in tissues at the time of T4 lymphopenia. In addition, germinal centres contained an additional patchy infiltration of T8+ cells. A patient with Kaposi's sarcoma did not show germinal centre destruction but did reveal extensive plasma cell infiltrates. Immunohistology may contribute to the definition of prognosis and analysis of disease progression in patients with PGL.

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