Objective: In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), more means to monitor early therapeutic response are needed. In pediatric IBD, blood inflammatory markers erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) may be low in 10 to 20% of patients with severe disease. Recently, soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) was described as a potential blood inflammatory marker in adult IBD.
Methods: We tested the performance of suPAR by the start of therapy with glucocorticoids (n = 19) or TNF-α-antagonist (n = 16) in pediatric IBD (Crohn's disease n = 19, ulcerative colitis (UC) n = 16).
Results: The levels of suPAR were low in both patient groups studied. There was no difference in the values regarding the presence of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Thus, all analyses were performed on the entire sample set. Glucocorticoid therapy, however, resulted in a significant decline in suPAR levels from a median of 3.06 to 2.54 ng/ml (p < 0.01). In contrast, TNF-α-antagonist had no effect. The suPAR levels did not associate with ESR or CRP or fecal calprotectin (FC).
Conclusions: In pediatric IBD, the suPAR levels in blood are low and do not reflect the level of intestinal inflammation assessed with FC. The introduction of corticoids, however, results in a decline of suPAR levels in blood but not reflect therapeutic response to TNF-α-antagonist. Thus, suPAR is of limited value in assessing systemic inflammatory responses in pediatric IBD.