The Role of Peyer's Patches in the Age-Related Incidence of Crohn's Disease

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Recently researchers have suggested that clinical subsets of Crohn's disease occur, which are variously described as inflammatory, fibrostenotic, and fistulizing. In addition, it has been observed that within families with multiple cases, often there is concordance of the site and type of disease. The lesions of Crohn's disease occur in segments that suggest the distribution of Peyer's patches. When the age-related incidence of Crohn's disease was plotted for all countries from which such data were available, the peaks of greatest case frequency occurred at ages 15 to 25 years and paralleled a similar peak representing the number of Peyer's patches as a function of age. This correlation suggests that Crohn's disease may develop as an inflammatory process specifically targeting these important lymphoid structures. Similar peaks of activity in the adolescent to early adult years occur for appendicitis and tonsillitis.

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