Evaluation of Serum Calprotectin Levels in Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Kurume Med J. 2021 Dec 15;66(4):209-215. doi: 10.2739/kurumemedj.MS664009. Epub 2021 Oct 25.


Background: Fecal calprotectin has been proposed as a useful biomarker of disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, the role of calprotectin in systemic circulation is not well established. Thus, this study aimed to quantify serum calprotectin levels to identify a potential inflammatory marker for IBD.

Methods: Ninety-eight patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and 105 patients with Crohn's disease (CD) were prospectively enrolled and clinically scored. Ninety-two healthy, age-matched subjects served as controls. Blood samples from UC and CD patients and controls were analyzed for serum calprotectin levels and routine laboratory parameters. Disease activity was assessed by partial Mayo score and Harvey-Bradshaw index for UC and CD, respectively.

Results: Serum calprotectin levels were higher in CD and UC patients than in controls and were higher during active disease than during inactive disease in CD but not in UC. In UC, serum calprotectin levels were correlated with C-reactive protein (CRP) but not with other laboratory parameters or disease activity. In CD, serum calprotectin levels were positively correlated with disease activity, serum CRP, and platelet count. In UC and CD, serum calprotectin and CRP levels increased during the acute phase and decreased towards remission.

Conclusions: Serum calprotectin is an inflammatory marker in IBD but might be more effective in evaluating patients with CD than those with UC. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings and to better determine the specific uses of serum calprotectin in routine practice.

Keywords: Crohn’s disease; calprotectin; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; inflammatory bowel disease; serum; ulcerative colitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / blood
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / diagnosis
  • Crohn Disease / blood
  • Crohn Disease / diagnosis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / blood
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Biomarkers
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex
  • C-Reactive Protein