The histological findings and the number of immunoglobulin-containing cells in gastric and duodenal biopsies from patients with Crohn's disease of the large or small bowel, or both, with and without upper gastrointestinal complaints, are reported and compared with those of healthy controls and patients with chronic non-specific gastritis and duodenitis. The gastric and duodenal biopsies from patients with Crohn's disease showed a higher incidence of chronic non-specific inflammation and a significant increase of IgM-containing cells compared with healthy controls. The increase of IgM-containing cells in the lamina propria cannot be explained by the high incidence of chronic non-specific inflammation, a condition shown to have increased numbers of IgM-containing cells as well, since patients with Crohn's disease of the ileum or colon, or both, without histological abnormalities of the gastric and duodenal mucosa also showed an increase of IgM-containing cells. It is concluded that both the high incidence of chronic non-specific inflammation in gastric and duodenal biopsies and the increased number of IgM-containing cells are an expression of Crohn's disease as a systemic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract.
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