Children with protracted diarrhoea, circulating enterocyte autoantibodies, and an enteropathy showing features of inappropriate HLA molecule expression on the jejunal crypt epithelium, often present with persistent blood and mucus in their stools. Eight children with autoimmune enteropathy were investigated for the presence of associated colonic disease. Six children with protracted diarrhoea, no circulating autoantibodies, and an enteropathy (in five of them) undergoing colonoscopy were used as control subjects. In all eight patients, but not in the control subjects, there was macroscopic and microscopic evidence of an accompanying colitis of variable severity, thus indicating that a more generalised intestinal disorder was present, which might affect the whole intestine. Aberrant expression of DR molecules on the colonic surface and crypt epithelium was also detected. Autoimmunity may play a role in the colitis.
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