Sera from patients with Crohn's disease have been reported to show positive immunofluorescence with lymph nodes of nude mice primed with a filtrate of intestinal tissue affected with Crohn's disease. An indirect immunofluorescence assay was used to test sera of 63 unrelated patients with Crohn's disease, 21 with ulcerative colitis and 36 control subjects against lymph nodes of athymic nude (nu/nu) mice which had been injected with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis intestinal tissue filtrates. Forty nine per cent of Crohn's disease patients, 10% of ulcerative colitis patients and 3% of control sera reacted against lymph nodes of mice injected injected with ulcerative colitis intestinal tissue filtrates, 18% of Crohn's disease sera were with intestinal tissue homogenate from Dutch Crohn's patients. With the lymph nodes of mice injected with ulcerative colitis intestinal tissue filtrates, 18% of Crohn's disease sera were positive, whereas all ulcerative colitis and control sera were negative. Lymph nodes from 18 of the 19 mice injected with Crohn's disease tissue filtrates reacted with Crohn's disease sera, whereas only three of these 19 mice reacted with ulcerative colitis sera. A comparative study, carried out in parallel with Crohn's disease filtrate induced hyperplastic lymph nodes from the Bilthoven colony (W2) and from the New York colony (E671) using sera from 54 Crohn's disease patients from Leiden, showed immunoreactivity with 44 and 57% of the Crohn's disease sera against the two hyperplastic lymph nodes. Thirty six of the 54 Crohn's disease sera (67%) reacted with either or both lymph nodes. Only 11% of the Crohn's disease sera which were examined for immunofluorescence and lymphocytotoxic antibodies had lymphocytotoxic antibodies, whereas 40% and 46% of the same sera showed positive immunofluorescence against E671 and W2, respectively. Absorption studies indicated that lymphocytotoxic antibodies activity and the immunofluorescence against the primed nude mouse lymph node are mediated by different serum antibodies in Crohn's disease. The reproducibility of the nude mouse immunofluorescence test system for a preferential immunoreactivity of Crohn's disease sera against Crohn's disease tissue primed murine lymph nodes has been confirmed by the present study. Further studies are necessary to find out whether crossreactive antigen(s) as recognised by some of the Crohn's disease sera in mice injected with ulcerative colitis tissue filtrate is similar to the antigen(s) detected by Crohn's disease sera in mice injected with Crohn's disease tissue filtrates.
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