Many interleukin-2 receptor (CD25) bearing cells can be identified by alkaline phosphatase immunohistochemistry in the diseased intestinal lamina propria of children with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, but rarely in normal intestine. In both diseases, the CD25+ cells are present as aggregates in the lamina propria below the epithelium, and constitute a large proportion of the lamina propria mononuclear cells. In Crohn's disease, but not ulcerative colitis, CD25+ cells are abundant in the submucosa. The CD25+ cells in Crohn's disease are 58-88% CD3+, CD4+, CD8-, indicating that they are T cells, whereas in ulcerative colitis the CD25+ cells are greater than 80% CD3-, CD4+, HLA-DR+, indicating that they are macrophages. Thus, differential expression of CD25 on T cells and macrophages serves to distinguish the immunologic lesions in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
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