Polymorphonuclear leucocytes of patients with untreated Crohn's disease showed a lower level of oxidative metabolism than polymorphonuclear leucocytes of treated Crohn's disease patients and controls. Whereas the production of superoxide anion (O-.2) in Crohn's disease patients was almost normal, polymorphonuclear leucocytes of untreated Crohn's disease patients showed a significantly deficient production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In the medically treated Crohn's disease patients, a significant negative correlation was found between H2O2 production by polymorphonuclear leucocytes and disease activity. These findings suggest an intrinsic cellular defect in the neutrophils of Crohn's disease patients which, together with the decreased locomotor function of these cells in vivo, might contribute to the pathogenesis of the chronic inflammation and granuloma formation in this disease.
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