The B-lymphocyte/accessory-cell activation antigen B7 (BB1) has been shown in vitro to stimulate T-lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine production via CD28 present on the latter cells. In this study, benign lymphoid tissues, lymphomas, and extralymphoid inflammatory sites were examined immunohistochemically using anti-B7 and other relevant monoclonal antibodies. B7 was expressed by benign transformed germinal center B cells, as it was by B cells of follicular lymphomas. B7 was also expressed by a subpopulation (a mean of 31% to 65%) of macrophages and dendritic cells in a variety of lymphoid tissues. It was present in abundance on all macrophages constituting sarcoid granulomas in lymph nodes. In extralymphoid inflammation, 17% to 35% of macrophages expressed B7 only weakly. Cases of Hodgkin's disease showed expression of B7 by the majority of Reed-Sternberg cells or malignant mononuclear variants, a phenomenon that potentially contributes to the lymphocytic accumulation that is a feature of this condition. CD28+ T cells were seen in all areas where T cells were present. B7+ and CD28+ cells colocalized in, for example, lymphoid follicles, lymph node paracortex, sarcoid granulomas, and Hodgkin's disease tissue, indicating a potential for cellular interaction via these molecules at these sites.

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