Lactoferrin, Stool

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Subject: Lactoferrin, Stool

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Definition

  • Glycoprotein, expressed by activated neutrophils. It is a sensitive and specific marker for detecting inflammation on chronic IBD. The lactoferrin stool assay offers a safe noninvasive, accurate method of differentiating IBD from IBS, once infectious causes of inflammation and colorectal cancer are ruled out. This assay is 86% sensitive and 100% specific in distinguishing IBD from IBS, making this an important diagnostic tool. Patients with IBD oscillate between active and inactive disease states, and fecal lactoferrin increases 2–3 weeks prior to onset of clinical symptoms. During remission and effective treatment, fecal lactoferrin decreases significantly.

  • Normal range: negative.

Use

  • Screening for inflammation in patients presenting with abdominal pain and diarrhea

  • Distinguish patients with active IBD from noninflammatory IBS

  • Monitor IBD activity

Interpretation

Increased In

  • Intestinal inflammation.

  • Marked increase in active IBD.

  • Moderately elevated levels of fecal lactoferrin may be found with red cells and leukocytes, in association with inflammatory diarrhea caused by enteroinvasive pathogens.

Decreased In

  • NA

Limitations

  • Test results should be interpreted in conjunction with breast-feeding status. Breast milk is naturally high in lactoferrin, and stool samples from breast-fed infants may cause a false positive with this assay.

  • This test may not be appropriate for immunocompromised persons.

  • Negative test does not exclude the presence of intestinal inflammation.

 
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