Calprotectin

Share this page:
Also known as: Fecal Calprotectin; Stool Calprotectin
Formal name: Calprotectin

At a Glance

Why Get Tested?

To detect inflammation in the intestines; to distinguish between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and non-inflammatory bowel conditions; to monitor IBD activity

When to Get Tested?

When you have bloody or watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, with or without fever, lasting more than a few days

Sample Required?

A stool sample collected in a clean container

Test Preparation Needed?

None

The Test Sample

What is being tested?

Calprotectin is a protein released by a type of white blood cell called a neutrophil. When there is inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, neutrophils move to the area and release calprotectin, resulting in an increased level in the stool. This test measures the level of calprotectin in stool as a way to detect inflammation in the intestines.

Intestinal inflammation is associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and with some bacterial GI infections, but it is not associated with many other disorders that affect bowel function and cause similar symptoms. Calprotectin can be used to help distinguish between inflammatory and non-inflammatory conditions.

IBD is a group of chronic disorders characterized by inflamed and damaged tissues in the lining of the intestinal tract. The cause of IBD is not known, but these diseases are thought to be due to an autoimmune process that has been triggered by a genetic predisposition, a viral illness, and/or an environmental factor. The most common inflammatory bowel diseases are Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

People with IBD typically have flare-ups of active disease that alternate with periods of remission. During a flare-up, a person may experience frequent bouts of watery and/or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fever. Between these flare-ups, symptoms frequently subside. Many people may go through extended periods of remission between flare-ups. Calprotectin testing can be useful in monitoring disease activity. The test is not specific or diagnostic for IBD, but it may be done to detect and evaluate the degree of inflammation.

How is the sample collected for testing?

A stool sample is collected in a clean container provided by the laboratory. This sample should be uncontaminated by urine or water.

NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.

Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.

Is any test preparation needed to ensure the quality of the sample?

No test preparation is needed.

The Test

Common Questions

Ask a Laboratory Scientist

This form enables you to ask specific questions about your tests. Your questions will be answered by a laboratory scientist as part of a voluntary service provided by one of our partners, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. If your questions are not related to your lab tests, please submit them via our Contact Us form. Thank you.

* indicates a required field



Please indicate whether you are a   
  
  



You must provide a valid email address in order to receive a response.



| Read The Disclaimer


Spam Prevention Equation

| |

Article Sources

« Return to Related Pages

NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.

Caccaro, R. et. al. (2012). Clinical Utility of Calprotectin and Lactoferrin in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Medscape Today News from Expert Rev Clin Immunol v8 (6):579-585 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/771596 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Manz, M. et. al. (2012). Value of Fecal Calprotectin in the Evaluation of Patients With Abdominal Discomfort, An Observational Study. Medscape Today News from BMC Gastroenterol. v12 (5) [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/761448 through http://www.medscape.com Accessed February 2013.

Henderson, P. et. al. (2012). The Diagnostic Accuracy of Fecal Calprotectin During the Investigation of Suspected Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Medscape Today News from Am J Gastroenterol. v107 (6):941-949 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/766411 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Gundling, F. et. al. (2011). Fecal Calprotectin is a Useful Screening Parameter for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Spontaneous Bacterial Peritonitis in Cirrhosis. Medscape Today News from Liver International v31 (9):1406-1415 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/757918 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Sherwood, R. (2012). Faecal Markers of Gastrointestinal Inflammation. Medscape Today News from J Clin Pathol. v65 (11):981-985 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/773411 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Prakash, R. and Mullen, K (2011). Intestinal Inflammation, Key to Complications in Cirrhosis. Medscape Today News from Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol v8 (12):665-667 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/754868 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Hashash, J. and Regueiro, M. (2012). The Evolving Management of Postoperative Crohn's Disease. Medscape Today News from Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol v6 (5):637-648 [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/772973 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

DuPont, H. (2012). Approach to the Patient With Infectious Colitis. Medscape Today News from Curr Opin Gastroenterol. v28 (1):39-46. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/755614 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

(2011 April 30). Diagnosing and Managing IBD. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.ccfa.org/resources/diagnosing-and-managing-ibd.html through http://www.ccfa.org. Accessed February 2013.

Tebo, A. (2013 January). Inflammatory Bowel Disease – IBD. ARUP Consult [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.arupconsult.com/Topics/IBD.html?client_ID=LTD through http://www.arupconsult.com. Accessed February 2013.

(© 1995–2013). Calprotectin. Mayo Clinic Mayo Medical Laboratories [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Overview/91597 through http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com. Accessed February 2013.

Juckett, G. (2011 November 15). Evaluation of Chronic Diarrhea. Am Fam Physician. v84 (10):1119-1126. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1115/p1119.html through http://www.aafp.org. Accessed February 2013.

Wilkins, T. et. al. (2011 December 15). Diagnosis and Management of Crohn's Disease. Am Fam Physician. v84 (12):1365-1375. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1215/p1365.html through http://www.aafp.org. Accessed February 2013.

Sidhu, R. et. al. (2010). Faecal Lactoferrin – A Novel Test to Differentiate between the Irritable and Inflamed Bowel? Medscape Today News from Aliment Pharmacol Ther. v31 (12):1365-1370. [On-line information]. Available online at http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/723031 through http://www.medscape.com. Accessed February 2013.

Manohara, J. et. al. (2009 January). Fecal Calprotectin and Lactoferrin as Noninvasive Markers of Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition v48 (1): 48-54. [On-line information]. Available online through http://journals.lww.com. Accessed February 2013.