Reed-sternberg cells of classical Hodgkin's disease react with the plasma cell-specific monoclonal antibody B-B4 and express human syndecan-1

Antonino Carbone, Annunziata Gloghini, Valter Gattei, Massimo Degan, Salvatore Improta, Donatella Aldinucci, Vincenzo Canzonieri, Tiziana Perin, Rachele Volpe, Gianluca Gaidano, Vittorina Zagonel, Antonio Pinto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the cellular origin of Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells of classical Hodgkin's disease (HD) has been a controversial issue for many years, recent immunophenotypic and molecular studies have suggested that RS cells of a subset of classical HD cases may be related to B cells. To further define the immunophenotypic features and the differentiation stage of RS cells, a series of 56 HD samples, including both nodular lymphocyte predominance (LP) (eight cases) and classical HD (nodular sclerosis [NS], 32 cases; mixed cellularity [MC], 16 cases) with a non-T-cell phenotype, were evaluated for the immunohistochemical expression of the B-B4 antigen, a specific marker for terminally differentiated B cells. Because the cDNA of the B-B4 antigen encodes syndecan-1, a member of a family of transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans thought to be involved in binding cells of the B lineage to the interstitial matrix, the B-B4 immunoreactivity was correlated with the expression of syndacan-1 in HD-derived cell lines (L428, KM-H2), as detected by both reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) studies and Western blotting. Our results show that B-B4 reacts with RS cells and their morphological variants of all cases of classical HD, irrespective of their antigenic pheno type (B, undetermined), albeit at a varying degree of cellular expression. Notably, a high reactivity and staining intensity for the B-B4 monoclonal antibody (MoAb) was restricted to tumor cells from NS HD. In cases of the latter subtype, B-B4 positivity was also found in sclerosis- trapped spindle cells (fibrocytes/fibroblasts). Conversely, the putative tumor cells of nodular LP HD were consistently unreactive with the B-B4 MoAb. Finally, we have demonstrated by RT-PCR, flow cytometry, and Western blotting that cultured RS cells, of B and undetermined phenotype, express syndecan-1 mRNA and produce a form of syndecan-1, recognized by the B-B4 MoAb, which is predominantly associated with glycosaminoglycans and is present at the cell surface. Our detection of the plasma cell-specific antigen B-B4 (syndecan-1) on tumor cells of classical HD further supports that RS cell progenitors may be related to germinal/postgerminal center mature B cells and suggests that expression of syndecan-1 may contribute to some of the typical biologic and histopathologic features of classical HD, with a special regard to the NS subtype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3787-3794
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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