Interleukin-2 (IL-2)-deficient (IL-2-/-) mice develop anemia and colonic inflammatory bowel disease. To elucidate the mechanism of this disease, we have bred IL-2-/- mice to two strains of immunodeficient mice, RAG-2-deficient (RAG-2-/-, lacking B and T cells) and JH-deficient mice (JH-/-, lacking B cells). IL-2-/-, RAG-2-/- double-mutant mice are disease free, while IL-2-/-, JH-/- double-mutant mice succumb to bowel disease at the same rate as IL-2-/- littermates. IL-2-/-, JH-/- mice do not, however, succumb to anemia. Thus, spontaneous intestinal inflammation in IL-2-/- mice requires mature T cells, not B cells, while anemia is dependent on B cells.

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