High faecal calprotectin concentrations in newborn infants

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2004 Jul;89(4):F353-5. doi: 10.1136/adc.2002.022368.


Background: Calprotectin, a major component of soluble cytosolic proteins in human neutrophil granulocytes, is excreted in excess in stools during inflammatory bowel disease in adults and children. Faecal calprotectin concentrations are also higher during the first year of life than in adults.

Objectives: To measure faecal calprotectin concentrations in the neonatal period and define reference values according to the mode of feeding: standard infant formula, prebiotic infant formula (Calisma, Blédina SA, France), or breast feeding.

Patients and methods: A prospective study was carried out over three months in 69 full term, healthy newborns with a median gestational age of 39.8 weeks (range 37-41.5) and a birth weight of 3300 g (range 2600-4460). Three groups were formed depending on the mode of feeding: group 1 (n = 18) received a standard infant formula, group 2 (n = 19) the prebiotic infant formula, and group 3 (n = 32) was breast fed. One stool sample was taken from each newborn on day 4 (3-7), and faecal calprotectin analysed using a commercial enzyme linked immunoassay (Calprest, Eurospital, Italy).

Results: Faecal calprotectin concentrations (median 167 micro g/g) were higher than reference values in healthy adults. The concentration was below the upper reference limit for adults (50 micro g/g) for three infants only, one fed the standard formula and two fed the prebiotic formula. Concentrations did not differ significantly according to method of feeding.

Conclusions: Compared with healthy adults, newborns have high calprotectin concentrations in the first days of life. There is no obvious influence of the mode of feeding.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis*
  • Male
  • Probiotics
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex