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Hum Pathol. 1993 Aug;24(8):833-9.

Expression of interleukin-6 in Castleman's disease.

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Department of Pathology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Little Rock.


Although mixed forms of Castleman's disease (CD) may occur, two classically recognized forms are the angiofollicular (hyaline vascular [V]) variant and the plasma cell (P) variant. The two forms of CD differ greatly in their clinical and histopathologic manifestations. Plasma cell CD is characterized by the presence of hyperplastic germinal centers (GCs) and sheets of plasma cells in the interfollicular areas. In this study we demonstrated an abundant expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) in most GC B cells and in the numerous immunoblastoid B cells in the mantle zone and interfollicular areas in CD-P. Patients with CD-P also have an elevated serum IL-6 level. The increased IL-6 production is responsible for the marked plasma cell infiltration in lymph nodes and bone marrow as well as for the elevated gammaglobulin level in serum. In contrast, CD-V is distinguished by the presence of atrophic GCs, which often are populated by cytologically atypical follicular dendritic reticulum (FDR) cells, as well as by sheets of T-zone plasmacytoid histiocytes and increased numbers of capillaries in the interfollicular areas. In contrast to the findings in CD-P, we did not observe significant expression of IL-6 in GC cells or in immunoblastoid cells in CD-V; this may account for the paucity of plasma cells in this form of CD. The reason for the atypical changes in FDR cells as well as the increases in T-zone plasmacytoid histiocytes and capillaries seen in CD-V are not known inasmuch as no cytokines, such as IL-1, IL-4, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-9, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, or granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, were detectable in tissues. It is possible that in CD-V the atypical change in FDR cells could lead to a disturbance of B-lymphocyte/FDR cell interaction and subsequently to poor development of GCs. The study clearly indicates that the histopathologic and clinical features of CD vary greatly depending on the capacity of activated B cells to produce IL-6. However, lack of IL-6 secretion by GC cells alone cannot explain the histopathologic alterations in CD-V.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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