solid organ transplantation. We characterized usage, mutation frequency and mutation pattern of immunoglobulin variable (IGV) gene rearrangements in 50 PTLD (polymorphic PTLD, n=10; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, n=35; and Burkitt/Burkitt-like lymphoma, n=5). Among PTLD yielding clonal IGV amplimers, a functional IGV heavy chain (IGHV) rearrangement was found in 40/50 (80.0%) cases, whereas a potentially functional IGV light chain rearrangement was identified in 36/46 (78.3%) PTLD. By combining IGHV and IGV light chain rearrangements, 10/50 (20.0%) PTLD carried crippling mutations, precluding expression of a functional B-cell receptor (BCR). Immunohistochemistry showed detectable expression of IG light chains in only 18/43 (41.9%) PTLD. Failure to detect a functional IGV rearrangement associated with lack of IGV expression. Our data suggest that a large fraction of PTLD arise from germinal centre (GC)-experienced B-cells that display impaired BCR. Since a functional BCR is required for normal B-cell survival during GC transit, PTLD development may implicate rescue from apoptosis and expansion of B-cells that have failed the GC reaction. The high frequency of IGV loci inactivation appears to be a peculiar feature of PTLD among immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferations.
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