In cultures, and in tissues as well, Hodgkin’s and Reed-Stemberg (H-RS) cells and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) cells are known to express a variety of cytokines, including IL-1, -5, -6, -8, -9, TNF-α, GM-CSF, M-CSF, TGF-β, CD70, CD80, and CD86. Various numbers of H-RS/ALCL cells may express cytokine receptors (R), such as CD30, CD40, IL-2R (CD25/CD122), IL-6R (CD 126), IL-7R (CD 127), TNF-R (CD 120), TGF-ß-R (CD105/endo- glin), M-CSF-R (CD115), and SCF-R (CD117/c-kit receptor). All of these cytokines and cytokine receptors are implicated in the growth regulation of H-RS/ALCL cells, the histopathologic alterations in tissues, and the clinical manifestations in patients with Hodgkin’s disease (HD) or ALCL. Many of these cytokines or cytokine receptors also play an important role in the pathogenesis of other types of lymphomas. In this review, we describe the cytokine or cytokine-receptor expression that is diacritic for H-RS/ALCL cells. The identification of such unique cytokine-cytokine receptor interactions is likely to explain the biologic property that distinguishes HD/ALCL from other types of lymphomas. These interactions include those of CD30L-CD30, CD40L- CD40, CD70-CD27, CD80/CD86-CD28, SCF-CD117, IL-9-IL9R, and IL-7- IL-7R. The H-RS/ALCL cells express IL-9 and two cytokine receptors, CD30 and CD 117, which are observed infrequently in NHLs. Although IL-7 expression is not restricted to H-RS/ALCL cells, the expression of IL-7 in conjunction with IL-9 and/or CD117 may be regarded as unique for HD/ALCL because of an unusual combination and a synergistic activity among these cytokines. The expression of CD70 and CD80/CD86 (as cytokines) may exert a unique effect in HD because of intimate contact between H-RS cells and CD27/CD28-positive T cells. The expression of these costimulators (CD70 and CD80/CD86) and other adhesion/constimulator molecules such as CD54 and CD58, along with the secretion of soluble cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, IL-7, or TNFs by H-RS/ALCL cells, could result in the profound T-cell proliferation often seen in lymph nodes involved by HD and some ALCL. On the other hand, the expression of CD30L and CD40L by surrounding T cells may affect the proliferation of H-RS/ALCL cells. The cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction between H-RS cells and T cells via direct cell-cell contact is bidirectional, a situation not commonly seen in NHLs.

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