Evidence that amyloidogenic light chains undergo antigen-driven selection.Blood. 1998 Apr 15; 91(8):2948-54.Blood
AL amyloidosis is characterized by fibrillar tissue deposits (amyloid) composed of monoclonal light chains secreted by small numbers of indolent bone marrow plasma cells whose ontogenesis is unknown. To address this issue and to provide insights into the processes that accompanied pathogenic light chain formation, we isolated the complete variable (V) regions of 14 light (VL) and 3 heavy (VH) chains secreted by amyloid clones at diagnosis (10 Bence Jones and 4 with complete Igs, 9 lambda and 5 kappa) by using an inverse polymerase chain reaction-based approach free of primer-induced biases. Amyloid V regions were found to be highly mutated compared with the closest germline genes in the databases or those isolated from the patients' DNA, and mutations were not associated with intraclonal diversification. Apparently high usage of the lambdaIII family germline gene V lambdaIII.1 was observed (4 of 9 lambda light chains). Analysis of the nature and distribution of somatic mutations in amyloid V regions showed that there was statistical evidence of antigen selection in 8 of 14 clones (7 in VL and 1 in VH). These results indicate that a substantial proportion of the amyloid clones developed from B cells selected for improved antigen binding properties and that pathogenic light chains show evidence of this selection.