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Gut. 2000 Oct;47(4):506-13.

A simple method for assessing intestinal inflammation in Crohn's disease.

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Department of Medicine, Guy's, King's, St Thomas' Medical School, London, UK.



Assessing the presence and degree of intestinal inflammation objectively, simply, and reliably is a significant problem in gastroenterology. We assessed faecal excretion of calprotectin, a stable neutrophil specific marker, as an index of intestinal inflammation and its potential use as a screening test to discriminate between patients with Crohn's disease and those with irritable bowel syndrome.


The validity of faecal calprotectin as a marker of intestinal inflammation was assessed in 22 patients with Crohn's disease (35 studies) by comparing faecal excretions and concentrations using four day faecal excretion of (111)indium white cells. A cross sectional study assessed the sensitivity of faecal calprotectin concentration for the detection of established Crohn's disease (n=116). A prospective study assessed the value of faecal calprotectin in discriminating between patients with Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome in 220 patients referred to a gastroenterology clinic.


Four day faecal excretion of (111)indium (median 8.7%; 95% confidence interval (CI) 7-17%; normal <1.0%) correlated significantly (p<0.0001) with daily (median ranged from 39 to 47 mg; normal <3 mg; r=0.76-0.82) and four day faecal calprotectin excretion (median 101 mg; 95% CI 45-168 mg; normal <11 mg; r=0.80) and single stool calprotectin concentrations (median 118 mg/l; 95% CI 36-175 mg/l; normal <10 mg/l; r=0.70) in patients with Crohn's disease. The cross sectional study showed a sensitivity of 96% for calprotectin in discriminating between normal subjects (2 mg/l; 95% CI 2-3 mg/l) and those with Crohn's disease (91 mg/l; 95% CI 59-105 mg/l). With a cut off point of 30 mg/l faecal calprotectin has 100% sensitivity and 97% specificity in discriminating between active Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.


The calprotectin method may be a useful adjuvant for discriminating between patients with Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

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