High circulating concentrations of interleukin-6 in active Crohn's disease but not ulcerative colitis.
Peripheral venous plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 were studied in 21 patients with active Crohn's disease, 20 patients with ulcerative colitis, and 16 control subjects. Interleukin-6 was detected in the plasma of 18 of 21 patients with Crohn's disease (median 47 (range less than 20-250) pg/ml) but in only two with ulcerative colitis and two control subjects. In the patients with Crohn's disease there was a significant negative correlation between the plasma interleukin-6 and the serum albumin concentrations. In eight patients with Crohn's disease and five patients with ulcerative colitis undergoing resection plasma from peripheral circulation and mesenteric vein draining diseased intestine was studied. Interleukin-6 was detected in seven of eight peripheral and mesenteric samples from the patients with Crohn's disease but was not detected in any of the samples from the patients with ulcerative colitis. There was no significant difference between mesenteric and peripheral samples in the concentrations of interleukin-6.