Heterozygosity for Roquinsan leads to angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma-like tumors in mice.
ABSTRACT Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (AITL) is the second most common peripheral T-cell lymphoma with unusual clinical and pathologic features and a poor prognosis despite intensive chemotherapy. Recent studies have suggested AITL derives from follicular helper T (T(FH)) cells, but the causative molecular pathways remain largely unknown. Here we show that approximately 50% of mice heterozygous for the "san" allele of Roquin develop tumors accompanied by hypergammaglobulinemia by 6 months of age. Affected lymph nodes displayed the histologic features diagnostic of AITL, except for the presence of expanded FDC networks. Accumulation of T(FH) cells preceded tumor development, and clonal rearrangements in the TCR-β genes were present in most tumors. Furthermore, T(FH) cells exhibited increased clonality compared with non-T(FH) cells from the same lymph nodes, even in the absence of tumors. Genetic manipulations that prevent T(FH) development, such as deletion of ICOS, CD28, and SAP, partially or completely abrogated tumor development, confirming a T(FH)-derived origin. Roquin(san/+) mice emerge as a useful model to investigate the molecular pathogenesis of AITL and for preclinical testing of therapies aimed at targeting dysregulated T(FH) cells or their consequences.