Constitutive cytokine production by primary effusion (body cavity-based) lymphoma-derived cell lines

H. G. Drexler, C. Meyer, G. Gaidano, A. Carbone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a new lymphoma entity occurring predominantly, but not exclusively in HIV+ patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). PEL grows exclusively in body cavities as serous lymphomatous effusion without evidence of mass disease or dissemination. The cells are infected with the newly discovered human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), often accompanied by cc-infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Several lymphoma cell lines have been established from patients with AIDS- and non-AIDS-associated PEL. Given their phenotypical relationship to plasma cells, several cytokines may be important for growth and survival of PEL cells. We investigated the spectrum of cytokines produced by nine HHV-8+ PEL cell lines, in comparison with five Burkitt lymphoma, seven other B non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (B-NHL) and seven multiple myeloma-derived cell lines. In addition, we tested the response of the PEL cells to selected cytokines and the effects of neutralizing anti-cytokine and anti-cytokine receptor antibodies. Using specific ELISAs, PEL cell lines were found to produce large amounts of interleukin-6 (IL-6; 10-5000 pg/ml), IL-6 soluble receptor (IL-6sR; 30-600 pg/ml), IL-10 (600-80,000 pg/ml) and oncostatin M (OSM; 50-80 pg/ml) which in most cases were significantly higher than the levels produced by the Burkitt, B-NHL or myeloma cell lines; on the contrary, PEL cell lines did not elaborate significant levels of macrophage inhibitory protein (MIP-1α) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF). However, the levels of MIP-1α were increased 10- to 100-fold by treatment with phorbol ester TPA. PEL cell lines did not respond proliferatively to IL-6, IL-10, IL-11, LIF, MIP-1α, or OSM. Incubation with IL-6sR and IL-6 inhibited cell growth. Anti-IL6 neutralizing antibodies had no effect on PEL cell line proliferation; conversely, whereas anti-IL6R alone inhibited only weakly, anti-gp130 and anti-gp130 plus anti-IL6R showed strong inhibitory effects (> 20% inhibition in 5/9 lines and > 60% inhibition in 3/9 lines). In summary, PEL cell lines produce high amounts of cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, OSM); proliferation could be inhibited by blocking the receptors of the IL-6 signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-640
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • BCBL
  • Cell lines
  • Cytokines
  • PEL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Hematology


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