Lymphotoxin, tumour necrosis factor and interleukin-6 gene transcripts are present in Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells of most Hodgkin's disease cases


  • H.D. Foss
  • H. Herbst
  • E. Oelmann
  • J. Samol
  • M. Grebe
  • T. Blankenstein
  • J. Matthes
  • Z. Qin
  • B. Falini
  • S. Pileri
  • T. Diamantstein
  • H. Stein


  • British Journal of Haematology


  • Br J Haematol 84 (4): 627-635


  • Tissue specimens from 26 cases of Hodgkin's disease (HD) and six HD-derived cell lines were analysed for tumour necrosis factor (TNF), lymphotoxin (LT), and interleukin (IL)-6 RNA transcripts by in situ hybridization, in some cases subsequent to immunohistology for CD30 antigen. LT and TNF transcripts were found in tumour cells of all cases; IL-6 gene transcripts were detectable in 19/23 cases. Presence of RNA specific for these cytokines was not correlated with any of the following parameters: sex, symptoms and histotype, as well as immunophenotype and association of the tumour cells with Epstein-Barr virus. Rather, the presence of LT, TNF and IL-6 transcripts appeared to characterize Hodgkin and Reed-Sternberg cells in general, supporting concepts which suggest that HD represents a malignancy of cytokine secreting activated cells, and that many of the features distinguishing HD from other malignant lymphomas may ultimately be due to expression of cytokines. LT and TNF RNA transcripts were also found in five HD-derived cell lines, whereas supernatants of these cell lines contained high levels of LT, but low or undetectable levels of TNF activity. This suggests that, although not detectable at the level of RNA transcripts, differences between HD cases may exist on the level of cytokine gene transcript processing, translation and polypeptide secretion.