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Virchows Archiv

, Volume 424, Issue 3, pp 301–306 | Cite as

Morphometric analysis of intestinal mucosa. VI — Principles in enumerating intra-epithelial lymphocytes

  • P. T. Crowe
  • M. N. Marsh
Original Articles

Abstract

The mucosal response by intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IEL) to antigenic challenge is a useful monitor of local immune activity. Conventional counts of IEL (determined as profile ratios of IEL to enterocyte nuclei) are inaccurate, and over-estimate values by a factor of two, both for disease-control mucosae and untreated ‘flat’ gluten-sensitized mucosae. Two further proofs are advanced in this paper which expose the inaccuracy of conventional profile-density IEL counts. New ranges (log-transformed data) indicate a diseasecontrol mean of 11 IEL per 100 enterocytes (95% confidence limits 5–27) and 29 IEL per 100 enterocytes (95% confidence limits 14–61) for untreated flat gluten-sensitive mucosae. For simplicity, if conventional IEL “counts” are halved, correct values (based on precise morphometric analyses) are easily obtained for comparative and other purposes.

Key words

Intra-epithelial lymphocytes Morphometry Coeliac Quantitation Reference range 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. T. Crowe
    • 1
  • M. N. Marsh
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of MedicineHope HospitalSalford, ManchesterUK

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