Animals of the inbred mouse strain, CWD, express endogenous murine leukemia viruses early in life and have a high incidence of spontaneous neoplasms. We found that approximately one half of these animals died of malignant lymphoma by the age of 16 months. Splenic enlargement was seen in all mice, but thymic involvement was unusual. One half of the CWD tumors were diffuse lymphoblastic or immunoblastic lymphomas while the remainder were large cell, small cell, or mixed cell lymphomas. Analysis of DNAs from 12 tumors for immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene rearrangements revealed that all six of the lymphoblastic and immunoblastic lymphomas were of T-cell origin, as was one tumor of small cleaved cells. Four of the others were clonal B-cell lymphomas and one was of uncertain lineage. Assays of a limited number of tumors for the expression of the Thy 1.2 and IgM molecules confirmed the diversity in the cellular phenotype. The results indicate that CWD mice develop primarily splenic lymphomas with an unusual degree of heterogeneity in the tumor cell phenotypes as compared with the thymic lymphomas found in other high leukemia strains. The CWD strain is a useful new model for studies of retroviral leukemogenesis and the relationship between the histopathology and immunophenotype of malignant lymphomas.

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