In order to define a cellular model suitable for studying, in vitro, the molecular properties and functions of neurotrophin receptors in human lymphocytes, TrkA, TrkB, TrkC and p75(NTR) expression was investigated in a panel of EBV immortalized lymphoblastoid (LCL) and Burkitt lymphoma-derived cell lines (BLs) compared to primary B lymphocytes by RT-PCR and flow cytometric analysis. Our data show that trkA and trkB are transcribed in most B cell lines of normal and malignant origin. For several of them, we also gained first evidence of trkC expression in B cells. All cell lines and primary B cells lack p75(NTR) expression. These data suggest that neurotrophin receptors expression in the B cell lines correlates to some extent with the phenotypic maturation stage and endogenous viral activity levels. Our data suggest that TrkA and TrkB, once activated, provide a partial rescue from apoptosis, whereas TrkC stimulates the progression through the cell cycle without affecting cell survival. Finally, the identification of a number of cell lines showing single expression of one of the Trk receptors has disclosed the availability of a cellular tool for further studies on their function, and mechanisms of signal transduction in the B cell moiety in the absence of p75(NTR).