AIMS--To evaluate whether there is any correlation between the expression of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent membrane protein (LMP) and oncoprotein bcl-2 in the lymph node biopsy specimens of a Chinese patient with EBV-related reactive lymphoproliferation who later developed T cell lymphoma after a short period of time. METHODS--Immunohistochemistry, with a standard alkaline phosphatase antialkaline phosphatase (APAAP) method and New Fuchsin as a chromogen, was used for single staining of bcl-2 or LMP. Double immunostaining combining APAAP and indirect immunofluorescence was performed for dual labelling of LMP and bcl-2. RESULTS--bcl-2 was expressed in 10-30% of cells in the first lymph node biopsy specimen (EBV-associated lymphoproliferative disorder) and 30-50% of cells in the second lymph node biopsy specimen (T cell lymphoma). LMP was expressed in the first biopsy specimen but not in the second. Double immunostaining results showed that around 78% of LMP positive cells were bcl-2 negative and 94% bcl-2 positive cells were LMP negative. Among the very small fraction of LMP and bcl-2 double positive cells, the intensity of bcl-2 staining was heterogeneous and was not always stronger than that observed in LMP negative bcl-2 positive cells. CONCLUSIONS--The expression of bcl-2 protein is independent of LMP protein status in vivo. Several mechanisms may be involved in EBV associated lymphomagenesis, and bcl-2 induction may occur independently of LMP expression.
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