Calprotectin and lactoferrin are proteins within the cytoplasm of neutrophils. Elevation of fecal calprotectin or lactoferrin can be seen in many conditions associated with inflammation of the bowel wall. While a low value supports a diagnosis of irritable bowel disorder (IBS) an elevated value is somewhat nonspecific.


Conditions associated with an elevation in calprotectin and/or lactoferrin:

(1) inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)

(2) bacterial or viral enteritis

(3) Helicobacter pylori gastritis

(4) parasitic infections (Giardia lamblia, other)

(5) diverticulitis

(6) gastrointestinal carcinoma

(7) intestinal lymphoma

(8) NSAID therapy

(9) proton pump inhibitors

(10) GERD

(11) cystic fibrosis

(12) untreated celiac disease

(13) protein-losing enteropathy

(14) colorectal adenoma

(15) juvenile polyposis

(16) autoimmune enteropathy

(17) microscopic colitis

(18) cirrhosis (with portal hypertension)

(19) untreated food allergy

(20) obesity

(21) immunodeficiency

(22) mucositis following chemoradiation

(23) graft-vs-host disease bowel mucosa


A key use for calprotectin or lactoferrin is monitoring the level of inflammatory activity in the bowel. With treatment levels should decline and with relapse levels should rise.


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