Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein expression in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells

Hermann Herbst, Friederike Dallenbach, Michael Hummel, Gerald Niedobitek, Stefano Pileri, Nikolaus Müller-Lantzsch, Harald Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cryostat sections from lymph nodes of 47 Hodgkin disease patients were examined by immunohistology for the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent membrane protein (LMP), nuclear antigen 2, and late viral glycoprotein gp350/250. A distinct LMP-specific membrane and cytoplasmic staining was detected exclusively in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells in 18 patients (38%); EBV nuclear antigen 2 and gp350/250 immunoreactivity was absent in all instances. Thirty-two of 47 (68%) cases contained EBV-speciflc DNA sequences as detected by PCR, all LMP-positive cases being in this category. Our results confirm previous studies establishing the presence of EBV genomes in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells by demonstrating expression of an EBV-encoded protein in the tumor-cell population. The finding of LMP expression in the absence of EBV nuclear antigen 2 suggests a pattern of EBV gene expression different from that of B-lymphoblastoid cell lines and Burkitt lymphoma, whereas this finding shows similarities with that seen in undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Because the LMP gene has transforming potential, our findings support the concept of a pathoetiological role of EBV in many cases of Hodgkin disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4766-4770
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 1991


  • Hodgkin disease
  • Immunohistology
  • Malignant lymphomas
  • Oncogenes
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics


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