Intraepithelial lymphocytes

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Lymphocytic proctitis. H&E stain.

Intraepithelial lymphocytes, abbreviated IELs, is the presence of lymphocytes between (benign) epithelial cells. IELs are seen in a number of contexts.

The epithelial cells in the context of IEL are presumed to be benign. Lymphocytes infiltrating between malignant (epithelial) cells is dealt with in the tumour infiltrating lymphocytes article.

Small bowel

Large Bowel

See also


  1. Harpaz, N.; Levi, GS.; Yurovitsky, A.; Kini, S. (Mar 2007). "Intraepithelial lymphocytosis in architecturally normal small intestinal mucosa: association with morbid obesity.". Arch Pathol Lab Med 131 (3): 344; author reply 344. doi:10.1043/1543-2165(2007)131[344b:IR]2.0.CO;2. PMID 17516730.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Najarian, RM.; Hait, EJ.; Leichtner, AM.; Glickman, JN.; Antonioli, DA.; Goldsmith, JD. (Jan 2009). "Clinical significance of colonic intraepithelial lymphocytosis in a pediatric population.". Mod Pathol 22 (1): 13-20. doi:10.1038/modpathol.2008.139. PMID 19116628.
  3. Fine, KD.; Lee, EL.; Meyer, RL. (Dec 1998). "Colonic histopathology in untreated celiac sprue or refractory sprue: is it lymphocytic colitis or colonic lymphocytosis?". Hum Pathol 29 (12): 1433-40. PMID 9865829.
  4. Goldstein, NS.; Gyorfi, T. (Sep 1999). "Focal lymphocytic colitis and collagenous colitis: patterns of Crohn's colitis?". Am J Surg Pathol 23 (9): 1075-81. PMID 10478667.