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A method was developed to isolate colonic intraepithelial lymphocytes in patients with ulcerative colitis (N = 8) and normal controls (N = 13) in order to characterize their phenotype using a panel of monoclonal antibodies and flow cytometry. In both groups, the majority of the cells are of the CD3+CD8+ phenotype associated with cytotoxic/suppressor function. The CD4/CD8 ratios were similar. Virtually no B cells or macrophages were found. An increase in cells coexpressing the CD3 and HLA-DR molecules and a decrease in natural killer cells (CD3, CD16+CD56+) were found in ulcerative colitis, but this was not significant. There were no differences in the proportions of CD8+ and CD4+ cells expressing the Leu8 antigen between ulcerative colitis and controls. Thus a population of colonic intraepithelial lymphocytes has been isolated and, although they may be functionally different in ulcerative colitis compared with controls, this cannot be explained in terms of phenotypic characteristics.


Journal article


Dig Dis Sci

Publication Date





1725 - 1728


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Antigens, CD, CD4-CD8 Ratio, Cell Separation, Colitis, Ulcerative, Colon, Epithelium, Female, Flow Cytometry, Humans, Intestinal Mucosa, Lymphocytes, Male, Middle Aged, Phenotype