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Abstract

Posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) is virtually always associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. BCL-2 and other proteins that confer resistance to apoptosis have been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of malignancies including lymphomas. One EBV protein, BHRF1, is a homologue of BCL-2, whereas another, the latency membrane protein 1 (LMP-1), upregulates BCL-2 expression in vitro. In the present study, we used immunohistochemistry to study the expression of these viral and cellular proteins as well as a variety of other EBV-encoded proteins in PTLD. BHRF1 was not detected in any PTLD specimen, whereas BCL-2 was shown in 12 of 17 lesions examined. With one exception, all LMP1-positive cases also expressed BCL-2 and the absence of LMP1 was always associated with a lack of BCL-2 expression. The results do not support a role for the EBV homologue of BCL-2 in PTLD, but they do support a role for viral induction of BCL-2 expression.