The characterisation of lymphocytes from liver biopsies indicates that 'activated' T lymphocytes are present in the liver in alcohol induced hepatitis, chronic active hepatitis (HBS+ve and -ve), and in primary biliary cirrhosis but not in inactive cirrhosis, chronic persistent hepatitis, extrahepatic and drug induced cholestasis. A greater percentage of lymphocytes bear Fc-receptors in chronic active hepatitis than in alcohol induced hepatitis or cholestatic liver disease. The concentration of 'activated' T cells in the peripheral blood in all groups studied was within the normal range, suggesting that the 'activated' T cells found in the liver were reacting to either native or foreign antigens within the liver. The data on Fc-receptor bearing cells are consistent with the involvement of antibody assisted K cell mediated cytotoxicity in chronic active hepatitis.
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