Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) isoenzymes and proliferative activity of lymphoid cells--an immunocytochemical study

Clin Exp Immunol. 1991 Nov;86(2):240-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1991.tb05803.x.


In a recent immunohistochemical study, we suggested that elevation of LDH isoenzymes is generally related to cell proliferation. To explore this relationship further, we have now examined the expression of H- and M-type LDH isoenzymes immunocytochemically in human resting and mitogen-activated B and T lymphocytes. In the resting state, T lymphocytes showed strong staining for H-type LDH but showed little or no staining for M-type LDH, while B lymphocytes showed only weak staining for M-type LDH. During activation of T cells, M-type LDH started to increase when cells entered the early stages of the cell cycle. The staining intensity increased to a maximum when the percentage of the T cells at the S/G2/M phases of the cell cycle reached its peak. M-type LDH expression declined when the activated T cells returned to their resting state. Staining for H-type LDH remained strong in T cells during activation. In B lymphocytes, both H- and M-type LDH isoenzymes increased concomitantly following activation and the staining intensity also correlated well with the percentage of the S/G2/M fraction. The expression of H- and M-type LDH was also determined in fresh leukaemia and a variety of lymphoid cell lines. It was noted that cells of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and pro-lymphocytic leukaemia (PLL), morphologically similar to normal lymphocytes, showed a LDH staining pattern resembling that of resting B lymphocytes, while lymphoblasts in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL), high grade B cell lymphoma and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) transformed cell lines showed a LDH staining pattern similar to that in activated T or B lymphocytes. Taken together, our results have demonstrated a significant correlation between expression of LDH and proliferative activity of cells. Immunostaining with the MoAbs to H- and M-type LDH can, therefore, provide a useful means not only for identification of T and B lymphocytes but also for rapid evaluation of the proliferating fraction of normal and neoplastic human cell populations.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cell Cycle
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoenzymes
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Leukemia / enzymology
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Isoenzymes
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase