The clinical, morphological, immunological, and molecular features of a case of expansion of large granular lymphocytes (LGL) are reported. Surface marker analysis of peripheral blood and spleen mononuclear cells showed that the majority of these cells were CD3-, CD2+, CD16+, and Leu 7-. Ultrastructural characteristics of CD16+ cells revealed a low nuclear/cytoplasmatic ratio, irregularly shaped nucleus, and numerous cytoplasmatic granules. Functional studies showed reduced proliferative responses to mitogens (PHA, Con A, PWM) and high levels of natural killer (NK) activity as well as antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activities. Molecular analysis of the T cell receptor genes revealed a germline configuration of the β, γ, and δ genes; however, as for normal NK cells, δ-related mRNA transcripts were found. Three months from diagnosis, the patient developed profound thrombocytopenia and splenectomy was carried out with complete normalization of the platelet counts and of hematological values while LGL lymphocytosis persisted. Although no tools are available for studying the monoclonality of CD3- lymphoproliferative disease, the clinical course, the absence of chromosomal abnormalities, and a liver histology indicative of chronic active hepatitis suggest that LGL expansion in this patient could be part of a benign, possibly reactive, process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine