Although Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg (HRS) cells are B lymphoid cells, they are unlike any normal cells of that lineage. Moreover, the limited proliferative potential of HRS cells belies the clinical aggressiveness of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). More than 20 years ago, the L428 HL cell line was reported to contain a small population of phenotypic B cells that appeared responsible for the continued generation of HRS cells. This observation, however, has never been corroborated, and such clonotypic B cells have never been documented in HL patients. We found that both the L428 and KM-H2 HL cell lines contained rare B-cell subpopulations responsible for the generation and maintenance of the predominant HRS cell population. The B cells within the HL cell lines expressed immunoglobulin light chain, the memory B-cell antigen CD27, and the stem cell marker aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Clonal CD27+ALDHhigh B cells, sharing immunoglobulin gene rearrangements with lymph node HRS cells, were also detected in the blood of most newly diagnosed HL patients regardless of stage. Although the clinical significance of circulating clonotypic B cells in HL remains unclear, these data suggest they may be the initiating cells for HL.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology