Mice deficient in interleukin-2 (IL-2-/-) develop inflammatory bowel disease resembling human ulcerative colitis. After death, macroscopic and microscopic scores were used to determine colonic inflammation. Both scores were significantly increased in the colon of IL-2-/- mice as compared to wild types mice. The level of IL-1beta 24-week-old was increased in IL-2-/- mice produced by the colon as compared with IL-2+/+ controls. However, the concentrations of IL-6 and IL-10 were not changed. The spleen weight of IL-2-/- mice was significantly increased compared with IL-2+/+ controls. We used immunochemical techniques in low-temperature paraffin-embedded spleen of IL-2-/- mice to examine pathological changes of CD4+ T cells, CD8' T cells, and CD11b+ cells. The tissue was successfully stained and was well preserved. The percentage CD4+ T cells was not significantly changed, while the percentage CD8+ T cells was significantly decreased in IL-2-/- mice compared with IL-2+/+ controls. On the other hand, the percentage CD11b+ cells was significantly increased in the spleen of IL-2-/- mice compared with IL-2+/- controls. As well as the marked difference in CD8+ and CD11b+ cells in the spleen, the increased level of IL-1beta in colonic tissue might indicate that cytotoxic T cells as well as macrophages are involved in the development and/or perpetuation of the inflammatory reactions in IL-2-/- mice.