Lymphoid tissues from patients with infectious mononucleosis lack monoclonal B and T cells

Julie A. Plumbley, Hongxin Fan, Phyllis A. Eagan, Aamir Ehsan, Bertram Schnitzer, Margaret L. Gulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In typical cases of infectious mononucleosis (IM), lymphoid tissue is rarely submitted for pathological examination. When lymphoid tissues from IM cases are examined, the histological appearance of IM may be difficult to distinguish from malignant lymphoma. The purpose of this study was to address the utility of clinical molecular assays for T and B cell clonality in distinguishing IM from lymphoid malignancy. DNA was recovered from paraffin-embedded archival lymphoid tissues of 18 cases of IM and 13 control cases representing other reactive lymphoid hyperplasias. T cell receptor γ (TCR-γ) and immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene rearrangements were assayed using our standard clinical polymerase chain reaction procedures targeting each of the four functional variable (V) families and the three joining (J) families of the TCR-γ gene, and framework III of the IgH gene, respectively. In 17 of 18 cases of IM, no monoclonal T or B cell populations were detectable. One case, the only spleen specimen in the study, had an oligoclonal pattern of TCR-γ rearrangements. The control cases representing other reactive hyperplasias also lacked monoclonality. The assays used were sensitive to clonal populations as small as 5% of cells. In this case series, no monoclonal lymphoid populations were identified in any case of IM. This finding suggests that molecular studies are useful in distinguishing IM from lymphoid neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Diagnostics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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