Fecal lactoferrin is a neutrophil-derived surrogate marker of intestinal inflammation that is elevated in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
However, the correlation between fecal lactoferrin levels and serological markers of disease activity has not been previously reported.
Dr Thomas Walker and colleagues evaluated the ability of fecal lactoferrin levels to reflect disease activity in pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
The team of doctors further assessed the relationship between fecal lactoferrin levels, and customary laboratory and clinical measures of inflammation.
|Lactoferrin levels are higher with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's|
|Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition|
The doctors collected fecal specimens from 148 consecutive pediatric patients.
Of these, 79 had Crohn's disease, 62 had ulcerative colitis, and 7 had irritable bowel syndrome.
The team compared the patients to 22 healthy control individuals.
Lactoferrin was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
The doctors assessed disease activity at the time of sample provision by laboratory measure.
In addition, the team used previously validated disease activity indices.
These indices included the Pediatric Crohn Disease Activity Index, Kozarek, and the Harvey Bradshaw Activity Index.
The team of doctors found lactoferrin levels were higher in patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease than in healthy control individuals under 21 years of age.
The doctors observed that the lactoferrin levels correlated significantly with erythrocyte sedimentation rate, hematocrit, albumin, and platelet count.
The team showed that fecal lactoferrin levels were comparable to erythrocyte sedimentation rate in detecting patients with clinically active disease.
Patients who experienced a clinical flare within 2 months of specimen collection displayed higher lactoferrin levels than those in clinical remission.
Dr Walker‘s team comments, “Data presented here demonstrate that fecal lactoferrin is a sensitive and specific biochemical marker of inflammation for use in the diagnosis and interval assessment of pediatric patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.”
“Its level correlates well with both clinical disease activity indices and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.”
“Elevated levels of fecal lactoferrin may also identify patients at greater risk for the development of subsequent clinical flares.”