The patterns of IL2, IFN-γ, IL4 and IL5 gene expression in Hodgkin's disease and reactive lymph nodes are similar

Davide Serrano, Fabio Ghiotto, Silvio Roncella, Irma Airoldi, Giovanna Cutrona, Mauro Truini, Vito L. Burgio, Carlo D. Baroni, Manlio Ferrarini, Vito Pistoia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objective. The lymph nodes involved in classic Hodgkin's disease (HD), i.e. mixed cellularity (MC) and nodular sclerosis (NS) subtypes, usually contain few (1-2%) Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells scattered in a background of lymphocytes, eosinophils, plasma cells and neutrophils. CD4+ T-lymphocytes are increased in number, express activation markers and cluster around RS cells. The presence of eosinophilia in most H D patients and the presence of hyper-IgE in a subset of them may suggest that activated lymph node T cells release large amounts of IL5 and IL4, respectively. Methods. The expression of four T-cell-associated cytokine genes, i.e interleukin (IL)2, IL4, IL5 and interferon (IFN)-γ, in frozen sections of 14 HD (7 MC, 7 NS) and 10 reactive lymph nodes was investigated by qualitative and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). T-cell clones were also raised from purified CD4+ lymphocytes of one HD lymph node and one reactive lymph node and tested for IL2, IL4, IL5 and IFN-γ secretion in culture supernatants by immunoassays. Results. The transcripts of all the cytokine genes were detected in every lymph node irrespective of the HD or reactive nature. HD or reactive lymph node-derived CD4+ T-cell clones released the four cytokines according to a predominant T-helper (Th)0-type pattern. In more than half of the lymph nodes of either HD or reactive nature, there was a predominance of IL4 over IFN-γ mRNA production (Th2- type pattern). In the remaining HD or reactive lymphadenopathies, either a balanced IL4/IFN-γ mRNA ratio (Th0-type pattern) or a predominance of IFN- γ over IL4 mRNA expression (Th1-type pattern) was observed. Interpretation and Conclusions. The overall pattern of cytokine gene expression in classic HD is similar to that detected in reactive lymph nodes. Further studies are needed to determine whether differences in the absolute concentrations of cytokines released in HD versus reactive lymph nodes and the long-standing course of HD versus the self-limiting nature of reactive adenopathies may explain certain peculiar features of HD, such as eosinophilia, for example.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1997


  • Cytokines
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Lymph nodes
  • PCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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