A simple technique for isolating lipids from small pieces of tissue was applied to mucosal biopsies and samples of resected intestine from patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Scanning densitometry of two dimensional chromatograms showed increased concentrations of the membrane associated glycosphingolipid lactosylceramide in Crohn's disease, on comparison with ulcerative colitis (p less than 0.01), or controls (p less than 0.01). This indicates either that normal glycosphingolipid metabolism is altered, or that a novel source of lactosylceramide is present in the inflamed mucosa of patients with Crohn's disease.
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