The cellular constituents in lymph nodes and spleens of patients with Hodgkin's disease were studied with a series of monoclonal antibodies directed against human thymocyte, peripheral T-cell, and la antigens. Utilizing both an immunoperoxidase technique on frozen tissue sections and indirect immunofluorescence on cell suspensions, wer found that a majority of lymphocytes were T cells, since they stained with anti-T1 and anti-T3 antibodies, which react with all peripheral T cells. In addition, most of these cells were reactive with anti-T4 antibody, which defines the helper/inducer T-cell population, whereas only a minority of cells stained with anti-T5 and anti-T8 antibodies, which are reactive with suppressor/cytotoxic T cells. Moreover, a large proportion of T cells expressed T10 antigen, which is found on activated T cells. A minority of the T cells also expressed la antigen(s), again suggesting that some of the T cells are activated. In contrast, the Reed-sternberg cells did not react with any of these anti- T-cell antibodies or with anti-IgM antiserum, but displayed strong membrane and cytoplasmic staining with anti-la antibody. Taken together, these findings suggest that Reed-Sternberg cells are not of T- cell lineage but may be derived from antigen-presenting reticulum cells in the thymus-dependent areas of lymphoid tissues; these cells are normally associated with T4+ cells.

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