The lymph node transcriptome of unicentric and idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease

Pedro Horna, Rebecca L. King, Dragan Jevremovic, David C. Fajgenbaum, Angela Dispenzieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Castleman disease is a polyclonal lymphoproliferative disorder characterized by unicentric or multicentric lymphadenopathy with characteristic histomorphological features, in addition to variable inflammatory symptomatology. The molecular mechanisms and etiologies of unicentric Castleman disease (UCD) and idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD) are poorly understood, and identification of targetable disease mediators remains an unmet clinical need. We performed whole exome sequencing on lymph node biopsies from patients with UCD and iMCD and compared the transcriptomic profiles to that of benign control lymph nodes. We identified significantly upregulated genes in UCD (n=443), iMCD (n=316) or both disease subtypes (n=51) and downregulated genes in UCD (n=321), iMCD (n=105) or both (n=10). The transcriptomes of UCD and iMCD showed enrichment and upregulation of elements of the complement cascade. By immunohistochemistry, C4d deposits indicative of complement activation were found to be present in UCD and iMCD, mostly within abnormally regressed germinal centers, but also in association with plasma cell clusters, endothelial cells and stroma cell proliferations. Other enriched gene sets included collagen organization, S1P3 pathway and VEGFR pathway in UCD; and humoral response, oxidative phosphorylation and proteosome in iMCD. Analysis of cytokine transcripts showed upregulation of CXCL13 but not IL6 in UCD and iMCD. Among angiogenic mediators, the VEGFR1 ligand placental growth factor (PGF) was upregulated in both disease subtypes. We hereby report for the first time the whole lymph node transcriptomes of UCD and iMCD, underscoring findings that could aid in the discovery of targetable disease mediators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-218
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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