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It has been proposed that CD30, a member of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily, is preferentially up-regulated on Th2-type human T cells. In order to investigate a correlation between infection with Echinococcus multilocularis and CD30 expression, we analysed regulation of CD30 mRNA, a variant form of CD30 mRNA (CD30v) and CD30 ligand (CD30L) mRNA expression on PBMC from patients with alveolar echinococcosis (AE) using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In PBMC of patients with AE as well as healthy donors, spontaneous expression of CD30L mRNA and the CD30v mRNA could be detected. However, the intact form of CD30 mRNA could be detected neither in freshly isolated PBMC of patients nor in PBMC of healthy individuals. Expression of CD30L mRNA and the variant form of CD30 mRNA was frequently detected at individual time points during 72 h of culture of PBMC stimulated with crude Echinococcus antigen. In contrast to CD30v or CD30L mRNA expression, induction of CD30 mRNA expression was detected only in three out of six (50%) healthy donors and in 10 out of 21 (48%) patients with alveolar echinococcosis after 72 h of incubation. As a control, mitogenic stimulation of PBMC of both healthy individuals and infected patients led to expression of intact CD30 mRNA within 24 h of culture. These data demonstrate the different expression of two different forms of CD30 mRNA in PBMC of human individuals. The specific induction of CD30 expression is correlated only in rare cases with the clinical status of patients with AE, indicating the lack of a general induction of CD30 mRNA in this Th2-type-dominated helminthic disease. The data provide further evidence that the CD30 receptor is not an exclusive marker for a Th2-type response.