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Complement Receptor Subtypes C3b and C3d in Lymphatic Tissue and Follicular Lymphoma

By H. Stein, U. Siemssen and K. Lennert


To substantiate the origin of follicular (nodular) lymphoma cells from germinal-centre cells, the lymphoma cells from 7 patients with follicular lymphoma and from 9 tonsils and 2 lymph nodes were studied for the presence and distribution of complement-receptor subtypes (i.e., the receptors for C3b and C3d). It was found that erythrocytes coated with antibodies and C3d (EAC3d) adhered exclusively to germinal centres, whereas erythrocytes coated with antibodies and C3b (EAC3b) adhered to germinal centres and in many instances to the regions between them. These findings indicate that germinal-centre cells bear both complement-receptor subtypes and that the B cells of the interfollicular area, which belong at least in part to the precursors of plasma cells, bear only a receptor for C3b. In frozen sections of follicular lymphomas, a similar distribution of complement-receptor subtypes was observed; EAC3d was bound exclusively to the neoplastic nodules, and EAC3b adhered to the neoplastic nodules and adjacent paranodular tissue. Receptor studies on suspended cells of both normal tonsils and follicular lymphomas revealed a slight predominance of EAC3d+ cells or equal numbers of EAC3b+ and EAC3d+ cells. The complete congruence in the expression and distribution of complement-receptor subtypes between tissues from follicular lymphomas and those from normal and hyperplastic tonsils or lymph nodes suggests that follicular lymphoma represents the neoplastic counterpart of the reactive germinal centre

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