CD23 (low affinity IgE receptor, Leu-20, FceRII) is a type II integral membrane glycoprotein, 45-60 kDa, and a member of an immunoglobulin supergene family. CD23 is a B-cell-specific antigen and it has essential roles in the regulation of IgE production and in the differentiation of B-cells. It also exists as a soluble excreted form that display autocrine promoting activity.
In humans, main cellular expression of CD23 is found in B-lymphocytes (strong expression in activated germinal center B-cells, weaker staining of resting mantle zone B-cells), monocytes, follicular dendritic cells (FDCs) predominately in the apical light zone of the germinal center, but also on activated CD4+ T lymphocyte subset, platelets, eosinophils, neutrophils, and Langerhans cells. CD23 is upregulated in Eppstein-Barr infection.
CD23 is constitutively expressed by intestinal epithelial cells and its expression is enhanced in enteropathies.
CD23 is typically expressed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), sometimes in follicular lymphoma, rarely in marginal zone and lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, but not in mantle cell lymphoma. In CLL, the strongest expression is characteristically present in proliferation centers. It was recently demonstrated that patients with CD23-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma have good prognosis.
CD23 is also frequently used to demonstrate benign follicular dendritic cells in the background of follicular lymphoma, nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma, (intra)follicular T-cell lymphoma and other lymphomas. Together with CD21, CD23 is a marker of rare follicular dendritic cell tumors
Some authors demonstrated CD23 expression in epithelial cells of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
In diagnostic pathology CD23 is primarily used in the panel for small B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders.
Normal tonsil is an appropriate control provided that at least a weak to moderate but distinct continuous membranous staining reaction is seen in the activated mantle zone B-cells of the germinal centres in the tonsils.
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