The histiocytic of lymphoid origin of human malignant histiocytosis is currently a subject of debate. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro effects of 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate used as a differentiation inducer on the CD30, t(5;6) (q35;p21) DEL cell line, taken to be a reliable representative of the human malignant histiocytosis cell line.

Treatment of DEL cells with 33 nm 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate for 6–24 h resulted in cell surface attachment (up to 80%), decrease in dividing ability, enhancement of nitro blue tetrazolium reducing capacity (from 8 to 42%), occurrence of a limited immunodependent phagocytosis, and transient increase in expression of tumor necrosis factor α gene and in production of tumor necrosis factor α protein, whereas tumor necrosis factor β remained undetectable. From these data, we can conclude that the malignant histiocytosis DEL cell line is not of lymphoid origin but stems from a myelomonocyte lineage.

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This research was supported by grants from the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer and the Conseil Scientifique de l'Université Paris V.

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