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Analysis of the lympho-plasmacytic infiltrate in Crohn's disease with special reference to identification of lymphocyte-subpopulations.
  1. S G Meuwissen,
  2. T M Feltkamp-Vroom,
  3. A B De La Rivière,
  4. A E Von Dem Borne,
  5. G N Tytgat


    Lympho-plasmacytic infiltrates in cryostat sections (resected small intestine or colon specimens and rectal biopsies) from 29 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) were studied with the immunoperoxidase and immunofluorescence technique, by means of specific anti-human lymphocyte globulin (ALG) and specific anti-human T-lymphocyte globulin (ATG). Control specimens were obtained from 16 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 12 subjects without inflammatory bowel disease. Characteristic transmural inflammatory infiltrates in CD consisted mainly of lymphocytes. A wide variation of the relative T-cell proportion was observed. However, in contrast with UC, abundant numbers of T-lymphocytes in CD were often detected, particularly in the deeper layers of the bowel wall. Furthermore, in serial sections immunoglobulin-containing plasma cells were counted, using specific anti-IgA, -IgM, and -IgG antisera. A significant reduction of the IgA/IgM plasma cell-ratio was found in CD in comparison with UC and controls. Our results indicate that in CD a chronic cellular immune reaction is going on within the diseases gut, involving increased numbers of lymphocytes and particularly T-cells. It remains to be established whether a deficient IgA barrier has to be considered of primary pathogenetic importance.

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