Very few B cells in germinal centers (GCs) and extrafollicular (EF) regions of lymph nodes express CD30. Their specific features and relationship to CD30-expressing Hodgkin and Reed/Sternberg (HRS) cells of Hodgkin lymphoma are unclear but highly relevant, because numerous patients with lymphoma are currently treated with an anti-CD30 immunotoxin. We performed a comprehensive analysis of human CD30+ B cells. Phenotypic and IgV gene analyses indicated that CD30+ GC B lymphocytes represent typical GC B cells, and that CD30+ EF B cells are mostly post-GC B cells. The transcriptomes of CD30+ GC and EF B cells largely overlapped, sharing a strong MYC signature, but were strikingly different from conventional GC B cells and memory B and plasma cells, respectively. CD30+ GC B cells represent MYC+ centrocytes redifferentiating into centroblasts; CD30+ EF B cells represent active, proliferating memory B cells. HRS cells shared typical transcriptome patterns with CD30+ B cells, suggesting that they originate from these lymphocytes or acquire their characteristic features during lymphomagenesis. By comparing HRS to normal CD30+ B cells we redefined aberrant and disease-specific features of HRS cells. A remarkable downregulation of genes regulating genomic stability and cytokinesis in HRS cells may explain their genomic instability and multinuclearity.


Marc A. Weniger, Enrico Tiacci, Stefanie Schneider, Judith Arnolds, Sabrina Rüschenbaum, Janine Duppach, Marc Seifert, Claudia Döring, Martin-Leo Hansmann, Ralf Küppers


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