The Role of Serum Calprotectin in Defining Disease Outcomes in Non-Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Pilot Study

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 14;24(2):1671. doi: 10.3390/ijms24021671.


Serum calprotectin (MRP8/14) is currently being studied as a promising biomarker of disease activity and outcome in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) but the data in the literature are conflicting. The aim of our study was to investigate the potential role of serum calprotectin as biomarker of disease activity and flare/remission in a group of nsJIA patients during a follow-up period of 18 months. In this prospective longitudinal study, two groups of patients with ns-JIA (55 active patients and 56 patients in remission according to Wallace's criteria) and a control group (50 children) were recruited at baseline from January 2020 to September 2021. JIA patients were followed for up to 18 months at four timepoints: 3 months (T1), 6 months (T2), 12 months (T3) and 18 months (T4). At each timepoint, the following were recorded: JADAS27, blood counts, ESR, CRP, albumin, ferritin and serum calprotectin. To illustrate the performance of calprotectin, Kaplan-Meier curves were constructed from baseline to relapse/remission, dichotomizing patients at baseline in positive/negative on the basis progressive calprotectin cut-offs. Associations between baseline factors and relapse were determined using Cox regression models. Multivariate models were constructed to analyze the effect of covariates. Comparing baseline clinical and laboratory data of the three groups (active vs. inactive JIA vs. controls), only serum calprotectin reached statistical significance (active patients vs. inactive (p = 0.0016) and vs. controls (p = 0.0012)). In the inactive group, during the 18 months of follow up, 31 patients (55.3%) had a relapse. Comparing the baseline data of relapsers vs. non-relapsers, serum calprotectin showed higher levels (p = 0.001) in relapsers. In survival analysis, a log rank test showed significant differences of up to 12 ng/mL (p = 0.045). Multivariate Cox regression confirmed that only baseline calprotectin levels were independently associated with disease recurrence. In the active group, in the 12 months of follow-up, 19 patients (38%) entered remission of the disease. In addition, in this group, the only statistical difference at the baseline was the value of MPR8/14 (p = 0.0001). Log rank test showed significant differences up to 10 ng/mL (p = 0.003). In the multivariate Cox regression, serum calprotectin levels at baseline were independently associated with remission. In conclusion, our study would suggest a dual role for calprotectin in predicting future relapse and treatment response in patients with nsJIA, thus influencing therapeutic decisions and management of these patients during follow up.

Keywords: S100 protein; children; disease activity; juvenile idiopathic arthritis; serum calprotectin.

MeSH terms

  • Antirheumatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / blood
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / diagnosis
  • Arthritis, Juvenile* / drug therapy
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex* / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.