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Int J Cancer. 1997 Jul 3;72(1):68-71.

Expression of HHV-8 latency-associated T0.7 RNA in spindle cells and endothelial cells of AIDS-associated, classical and African Kaposi's sarcoma.

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Abteilung Virusforschung, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Germany.


Analysis by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and serological studies have demonstrated a close association between the novel human herpes virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) or human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8) and the development of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). To clarify the role of HHV-8 in KS pathogenesis, we investigated at the cellular level by in situ hybridization the expression of a recently described 0.7-kb HHV-8-encoded mRNA (T0.7 mRNA) in KS tissues of different epidemiological origin (AIDS-KS, African endemic KS and classical KS). The T0.7 mRNA likely encodes a small membrane protein, supposedly expressed in latently HHV-8-infected cells. Indeed, we detected T0.7 mRNA in virtually all cells of the cell line BCBL-1 established from a body cavity-based lymphoma (BCBL) and latently infected with HHV-8. In all KS biopsies examined, independent of their epidemiological type, the late-stage (nodular) KS tissues showed a high level of T0.7 mRNA expression in typical KS spindle cells but also in endothelial cells lining blood vessels, indicating latent HHV-8 infection of these cells. The presence of T0.7-expressing cells was restricted to KS tumor tissue and therefore appears to indicate an important role of latent HHV-8 infection in KS pathogenesis.

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