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Human cytomegalovirus infection in foci of Langerhans cell histiocytosis.

Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) has been thought to be a disorder of immune regulation, and increasingly, evidence showing that the tissue damage in LCH involves lymphokines and pro-inflammatory cytokines is reported. We detected human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-DNA in LCH cells in the foci of LCH lesions by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and PCR. HCMV was detected in the nuclei and/or cytoplasm of LCH cells in 9 of 27 LCH cases by immunostaining. HCMV was probably an early antigen. In situ hybridization revealed signals for HCMV-DNA only in the nuclei of LCH cells in 10 of the 27 LCH cases. PCR analysis was performed in 20 of the LCH cases, and HCMV-DNA was detected in 7 of these. All 7 positive cases were also positive for HCMV by ISH and IHC. These findings suggested that early phase infection or reactivation of HCMV occurred in the LCH lesions. HCMV infection may be accompanied by impaired cytokine production. Our study also suggested a relationship between HCMV infection and expression of TNFalpha. In tissues affected by LCH, dermatopathic lymphadenopathy or malignant fibrous histiocytoma and in normal tissues no signals for Epstein-Barr virus-RNA were detected. These findings suggest that in some cases LCH is associated with HCMV infection.

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