Introduction Calprotectin is a member of the S100 protein family binding calcium-and zinc and has been demonstrated as one of the most sensitive marker of the intestinal inflammation. It is secreted into the faeces by neutrophil granulocytes and can non-invasively be monitored neonatal infectious disease.
Background and Aims Determining the physiological age-related changes of calprotectin level in faeces and describing the measured values in pathological conditions. Exploring the influential factors of the calprotectin concentration and establishing a reference value regarding neonatal intestinal diseases.
Methods 106 stool samples were collected from 66 newborn (51/15: mature/premature) in the University of Pecs followed by calprotectin determination performed by ELISA. Throughout the study, the calprotectin content of the normal meconium was monitored and data were processed retrospectively.
Results The faecal calprotectin concentration of mature infants is many times higher than the literature indicated four year reference value. This biomarker level showed typical changes during the first week of life (median: 286.94 ug/g). Lower calprotectin levels were found in infants whose physiological weight loss had stopped in the first three days. Furthermore, changes in calprotectin level occured later after caesarean section than after vaginal delivery and higher concentrations were found in infants after breast-feeding compared to formula-feeding. Moreover, high calprotectin levels (646.2 and 1243.2 ug/g) had been detected before manifestation of symptoms in two lethal necrotizing enterocolitis associated cases.
Conclusions Determination of faecal calprotectin is considered as a useful prognostic biomarker in premature infants showing symptoms, such as intestinal distress or general infection.