Elevated levels of calprotectin and lactoferrin indicate that neutrophils (PMN’s) have migrated in to the lumen of the intestine.  These PMN’s are markers of inflammation within the gut.  High calprotectin and lactoferrin levels are indicative of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); however, the assay does not differentiate ulcerated colitis from Crohn disease.


Does calprotectin represent a regulatory factor in host defense or a drug target in inflammatory disease? M E Baldassarre, M A Altomare, M Fanelli, D Carbone, G di Bitonto, A Mautoneand N Laforgia – Unità Operativa di Neonatologia e Terapia Intensiva Neonatale, Università degli Studi di Bari, Bari, Italia. baldassarre@bioetaev.uniba.it[1]

Calprotectin, a protein composed by two subunits of 8 and 14 kD respectively, is released by neutrophils in the biological fluids under inflammatory states. For instance, detection of calprotectin in faeces represents a diagnostic tool in the case of inflammatory bowel disease. Quite interestingly, calprotectin is increased in the stool of healthy newborns from day three up to day thirty and, physiologically, this increase may be interpreted as a defense mechanism against yeast and fungi. Therapeutic attempts at inhibiting the deleterious effect of calprotectin have been experimentally made by using lycoricinidol. This natural compound is able to hamper the calprotectin-induced apoptosis on the one hand. On the other hand, the same compound plays a prophylactic role in the course of experimental arthritis in rats.

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