Age-related faecal calprotectin, lactoferrin and tumour M2-PK concentrations in healthy volunteers

Ann Clin Biochem. 2010 May;47(Pt 3):259-63. doi: 10.1258/acb.2009.009061. Epub 2009 Sep 9.


Objective: Measurement of the faecal markers calprotectin, lactoferrin and tumour M2-PK has been reported to be useful in the diagnosis and management of a range of gastrointestinal disorders in both children and adults. The aim of this study was to investigate the requirement for age-related reference ranges.

Methods: Faecal samples were obtained from 132 healthy subjects and analysis of calprotectin, lactoferrin and tumour M2-PK performed using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: In the healthy subjects median concentrations were as follows: for calprotectin - 2-9 y, 34 microg/g, 10-59 y, 22 microg/g and > or =60 y, 27 microg/g; for lactoferrin - 2-9 y, 2.2 microg/g, > or =10 y, 0.5 microg/g; and for tumour M2-PK all subjects <1 U/mL. Significant differences between age groups for different markers resulted in the following age-related reference ranges: calprotectin - 2-9 y, <166 microg/g, 10-59 y, <51 microg/g, > or =60 y, <112 microg/g; lactoferrin - 2-9 y, <29 microg/g, > or =10 y <4.6 microg/g.

Conclusion: In healthy individuals, we found there to be variation in the faecal inflammatory markers calprotectin and lactoferrin with age. For both calprotectin and lactoferrin children aged 2-9 y had significantly higher concentrations than subjects aged >/=10 y. For calprotectin but not lactoferrin, adults > or =60 years had a higher concentration than those aged 10-59 y. There was no change with age in the metabolomic marker faecal tumour M2-PK in healthy subjects. The knowledge of age-related reference ranges in healthy subjects is important to fully interpret changes in gastrointestinal disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / analysis*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • Lactoferrin