Faecal calprotectin in term and preterm neonates

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010 Nov;51(5):542-7. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e3181e2ad72.


Objectives: The aim of this review was to examine the characteristics of the faecal calprotectin assay in neonates and the evidence for its use as a noninvasive marker of intestinal illnesses during the neonatal period.

Methods: Bibliographic searches were performed in the MEDLINE electronic database up to February 2010 looking for the following words (all fields): "infants" or "neonates" and "calprotectin." Twenty studies, in which 1180 neonates were enrolled, were selected.

Results: During the neonatal period, calprotectin levels are characterized by significantly higher values in both healthy full-term and preterm infants during their first year of life compared with reference values established for children and adults. No difference was observed according to gestational age or birth weight, whereas a higher faecal calprotectin level was detected during intestinal distress in neonates with either inflammatory or patent digestive alterations. Despite high interindividual variations, cutoff levels are proposed to identify infants with a high risk of intestinal illnesses.

Conclusions: Compared with adults and children, healthy full-term and preterm neonates have high calprotectin levels. The measurement of calprotectin levels in faeces can be a promising noninvasive clinical screening test for intestinal distress in neonates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis*
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex