Chemiluminescence (CL) analysis of monocytes and polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) was performed on 13 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) and 10 healthy volunteers. The percentages of monocyte populations in mononuclear cells obtained from the patients with CD were greater than those from the healthy volunteers, but the numbers of PMNs were not different between the two groups. The peak level of phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-induced CL activity generated by diluted whole blood from the patients with CD was more significantly elevated than that from the healthy volunteers, whereas the peak levels of opsonized zymosan-induced CL activity did not differ between the two groups. In monocytes, the peak levels of both PMA- and opsonized zymosan-induced CL activity were significantly higher in the patients with CD than in the healthy volunteers. CL in PMNs, however, showed no significant difference between CD and controls. It is suggested that monocytes of CD have a large capacity to generate active oxygen species. The present study suggests that excessive active oxygen species released by monocytes and perhaps macrophages may play an important role in formation of the intestinal lesions in CD.
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