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The relative distribution of lymphocyte subpopulations in the blood and liver of patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and related diseases has been studied using immunoenzyme techniques. The peripheral blood CD4/CD8 T lymphocyte ratio was significantly higher in active ulcerative colitis (UC) and in PSC with inactive UC than in inactive UC alone. In contrast, no relationship with disease activity was seen in Crohn's disease. The portal tract t lymphocyte count per high power field (mean +/- S.D.) was higher in pre-cirrhotic PSC (173 +/- 105) and primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC: 210 +/- 110) than in histologically normal liver (42 +/- 27). However, the overall portal tract CD4/CD8 ratio was similar in PSC (1.49), PBC (1.89) and normal controls (1.63). The results are consistent with immunological involvement in the pathogenesis of PSC, but argue against the hypothesis that changes in the peripheral blood T cell subsets are due to sequestration at the site of tissue inflammation.


Journal article


J Hepatol

Publication Date





36 - 41


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Alkaline Phosphatase, Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte, Bilirubin, Biopsy, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cholangitis, Sclerosing, Colitis, Ulcerative, Crohn Disease, Female, Humans, Immunoenzyme Techniques, Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary, Male, Middle Aged, Portal System, Serum Albumin, T-Lymphocytes