The term Hodgkin lymphoma -can be broken down. Lymph- refers to lymphocytes and oma- refers to a tumor.
So, Hodgkin lymphoma is a tumor derived from lymphocytes - specifically B-cells which mainly reside in lymph nodes.
In case you’re wondering, the disease gets its name from the English physician Thomas Hodgkin, who first described these tumors.
B-cell development begins in the bone marrow, which is a primary lymphoid organ.
That’s where young precursor B-cells mature into naive B-cells.
The naive B cells then leave the bone marrow and circulate in the blood and eventually settle down in lymph nodes.
Humans have hundreds of lymph nodes, scattered throughout the body, and they’re considered secondary lymphoid organs.
Each lymph node has B-cells which group together in follicles in the cortex or outer part of the lymph node, along with T-cells in the paracortex just below the cortex.
B-cells differentiate into plasma cells, which are found in the medulla or center of the lymph nodes.
Plasma cells release antibodies or immunoglobulins.
Antibodies bind to pathogens like viruses and bacteria, to help destroy or remove them.
Various immune cells, including B-cells have surface proteins or markers that are called CD, short for cluster of differentiation, along with a number - like CD19 or CD21.
In fact, the combination of surface proteins that are on an immune cell works a bit like an ID card.
Now, a B cell is activated when it encounters an antigen that binds just perfectly to its surface immunoglobulin.
Some of these activated B-cells mature directly into plasma cells and produce IgM antibodies.
Other activated B-cells go to the center of a primary follicle in the lymph node and they differentiate into B-cells called centroblasts and start to quickly proliferate or divide.