Calprotectin is a reliable noninvasive marker for differentiating gastrointestinal inflammation associated with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) from inflammation that may be associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Such differentiation is very important because IBD can be life threatening. Monitoring the levels of fecal calprotectin can play an essential role in determining the effectiveness of clinical interventions, and is a good predictor of IBD remission and relapse. Calprotectin provides clinicians with a valuable tool, not only for differentiating IBD from IBS, but also allowing them to monitor and predict treatment outcomes and enabling better management of IBD flare ups.
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4 to 6 days
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Calprotectin is a calcium-binding protein produced by neutrophils and monocytes, and it may be involved in inflammatory signaling. Elevated Calprotectin and fecal Lactoferrin levels indicate the presence of neutrophils and inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa. Calprotectin and Lactoferrin differentiate between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD includes autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC); these conditions may become life-threatening and require lifelong treatment.
Multiple studies have shown fecal Calprotectin and Lactoferrin to be equivalent with respect to clinical sensitivity and specificity. Studies suggest that Calprotectin may correlate more closely with histological (cell microscopy) findings. Lactoferrin may correlate better to macroscopic (endoscopy) findings, and may be the better indicator of impending relapse, elevating 2-3 weeks prior to clinical symptoms.
Chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal mucosa contributes to symptoms of IBD. Chronic stress is known to contribute to symptom flare-ups and increased inflammation. Liver disease or the use of aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications may elevate Calprotectin levels. Fecal Calprotectin levels may also be increased in newborns.