Inflammatory stimuli induce expression and release of decay-accelerating factor (DAF), a complement-regulatory protein present on peripheral-blood cells. Therefore, in ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory colonic disease in which activated leukocytes are involved, DAF may be released from leukocytes into the circulation. In this study we compared serum DAF concentrations and surface DAF expression on peripheral-blood cells in patients with UC with disease activity. Peripheral-blood samples were obtained from 60 patients with UC (30 with active and 30 with inactive disease) and 19 healthy volunteers. Serum DAF concentrations were determined by means of immunoassay, and surface DAF expression on blood cells was examined with the use of flow cytometry. Serum DAF concentrations in patients with active disease (mean 48.6 ng/mL) were significantly higher than those in patients whose disease was in remission (33.3 ng/mL; P =.0003) and those in healthy controls (32.3 ng/mL; P =.0007). Surface DAF expression on neutrophils, CD14+ monocytes, and subsets of lymphocytes in patients with active UC was significantly increased compared with that in patients with UC in remission and in healthy controls. The increased serum DAF concentrations and surface DAF expression on leukocyte fractions in patients with active disease fell to significantly lower levels when the disease had gone into remission after medical therapy. Serum DAF concentrations are increased in UC patients in relation to disease activity. The likely source of increased DAF concentrations is peripheral-blood leukocytes that have been activated as part of the UC disease process.