Colonic tissue was taken at operation from 10 patients with active ulcerative colitis and three patients with uncomplicated diverticular disease but with severe symptoms. Levels of kininogen, kallikrein, and kallikrein precursor were measured in blood-free tissue samples. In normal colon tissue a kininogen occurred in the muscle and none was detected in the mucosa. Kallikrein and its precursor were found in mucosa but not in muscle. In acutely inflamed tissue from ulcerative colitis patients relatively high levels of active kallikrein were detected in the underlying colonic muscle. There was little change in the level of kallikrein in inflamed mucosa or of kininogen in the muscle of these patients. No kallikrein was found in colonic muscle from patients with diverticular disease and the mucosal kallikrein level in these patients was unchanged. The findings suggest a mechanism for the formation of kinins in the wall of the colon which is present in ulcerative colitis but not in diverticular disease.
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