We would like to share with the readers the results of our experience in 50 celiac disease (CD) patients, enrolled between September 2012 and April 2013, who were referred to our third-level CD Unit. The fecal calprotectin (FC) concentration of 50 adults with newly diagnosed CD was compared to that of a control group of 50 healthy subjects. FC level was determined by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay with diagnostic cut-off of 75 μg/g. In addition, we tried to correlate the FC level with symptoms, histological severity of CD (Marsh grade) and level of tissue transglutaminase antibodies (aTg) in CD patients. Finally, FC level was increased in five CD patients and in four controls (10% vs 8%, P = NS); mean FC concentration of patients and controls were 57.7 (SD ± 29.1) and 45.1 (SD ± 38.4) respectively. Furthermore, no significant correlation was seen between FC levels and symptoms/Marsh grade/aTg. The five CD patients did not show inflammatory lesions (e.g., ulcers, erosions) at upper endoscopy. The four healthy controls with positive FC were followed-up for further six months; in this observational period they did not show clinical signs of any underlying disease. On these bases, we think that FC is not able to investigate the subclinical inflammatory changes of active CD and FC should be considered a useless tool in the diagnostic work-up of uncomplicated CD but it should be accompanied by aTg when ruling out organic disease in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
Keywords: Bowel inflammation; Calprotectin; Coeliac disease; Small bowel.