To define the histogenesis and cell origin of Kaposi sarcoma (KS), we cultured KS cells without retrovirally conditioned media from three HIV seropositive AIDS patients and then attempted to raise mouse hybrid monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) specific to these AIDS-KS cells. After both in vivo and in vitro immunization trials, all putative Mabs reacted positively to KS cells but also non-specifically with other human (CH5 and OM) and non-human (RSE-1) control endothelial cell lines. To overcome this crossreactivity, we further "absorbed" previously cloned hybrids and pre-hybrid splenocytes by incubating them with the control endothelial cell lines to eliminate splenocytes and/or hybridomas reactive to normal endothelium. Whereas absorption successfully eliminated immunoreactivity to control endothelium, it also excluded reactivity to KS cells. These findings (lack of specific antigenicity and immunoresponsiveness of KS similar to non-KS control endothelium) suggest that AIDS-KS cells are neither antigenically transformed nor neoplastic, but instead represent dedifferentiated or transdifferentiated endothelium which retains immunogenicity of its original endothelial cell prototype.
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