Dinitrochlorobenzene-induced colitis in guinea-pigs may be immunologically mediated: animals must be presensitised to dinitrochlorobenzene to develop colitis, sensitivity can be passively transferred by lymphocytes and the injury can be mitigated by immunosuppression. In this study, we examined lamina propria lymphocytes isolated from colons of animals with dinitrochlorobenzene-induced colitis, and appropriate controls. Lamina propria lymphocytes from colitis animals have a greater percentage of rabbit erythrocyte-rosetting cells (T cells) (20.1 +/- 3.0 vs 2.3 +/- 0.8, p less than .01) and a greater capacity to mediate mitogen-induced cellular cytotoxicity with phytohaemagglutinin than lamina propria lymphocytes from normal colon (% specific cytoxicity = 29.4 +/- 8.7 vs 5.0 +/- 4.5, P less than .005). There was no difference in the percentage of rosetting cells or cytotoxicity index of spleen or mesenteric lymph node lymphocytes between the colitis animals and controls. These data suggest that there are changes in the distribution and functional characteristics of lamina propria lymphocytes which correlate with mucosal cell injury in the dinitrochlorobenzene-colitis model.
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