Fecal calprotectin, a biomarker of intestinal inflammation in adults and children, has been found to be higher at 2 months of age in infants with atopic dermatitis, cows’ milk intolerance and gastroesophageal reflux.
Objective To evaluate if fecal calprotectin levels during the first month of life can relate to the development of gastrointestinal functional and/or allergic disease.
Methods Between December 2007 and January 2008 a phone interview to the parents of 109 healthy term newborns in which fecal calprotectin had been measured both at birth and at one month of age was carried out. A modified version of the paediatric questionnaire for paediatric functional gastrointestinal disorders (QPGS) was used for this interview, with specific questions about allergic disease.
Statistical Analysis SPSS. Models of statistical variance were used to assess associations between variables.
Results 89/109 (81.6%) of parents agreed to answer. There were 11/89 (12.3%) children with diagnosed cows’ milk protein allergy (group 1), 5/89 (5.9%) children with atopic dermatitis (group 2), one case (1.1%) with a diagnosis of infant regurgitation according to Roma III criteria (group 3). 45/89 (50.5%) children had a familiar history positive for gastrointestinal diseases (group 4).
Conclusion We found no correlation between high fecal calprotectin levels during the first month of age and subsequent development of allergic or gastrointestinal disease. High calprotectin levels during the first month may be related to its cytokine-like activity, playing a pivotal role in the physiological development of the immune response and the host defence mechanisms against fungal or bacterial infection.