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Eosinophil cationic protein in feces: Reference values in healthy and atopic individuals and patients with digestive diseases

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Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) is a good indicator of eosinophilic activity and turnover, serving as a marker of activity in allergic and gastrointestinal diseases characterized by predominantly eosinophilic tissue infiltration. Our aim was to compare ECP levels in feces from healthy individuals, atopic patients, and patients with digestive diseases and establish reference values for this clinical setting. Thirty-nine healthy adults, 28 atopic patients, and 14 patients with digestive diseases were enrolled. The atopic patients had been diagnosed with allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and/or asthma. ECP concentrations in the supernatants from processed feces adjusted for semidry weight (g/g feces) were determined by fluorescent enzyme immunoassay. Between-group comparisons were performed of medians and interquartile ranges (IQR) by nonparametric tests. Median (IQR) ECP levels were 8.16 (4.11–17.61), 10.83 (5.18–18.49), and 13.02 (5.17–21.97) g/g feces in controls, atopic patients, and digestive disease patients, respectively; mean (SD) levels were 14.53 (13.77), 13.93 (11.30), and 16.51 (14.79) g/g of feces. No significant differences in the medians were observed between the atopic group and controls (p = 0.725), the atopic group and digestive disease patients (p = 0.513), or the controls versus the digestive disease patients (p = 0.694). We provide reference values for ECP levels in feces for normal and atopic adults. There is considerable variability in ECP levels in feces and the median levels are similar in healthy and atopic individuals and patients with digestive diseases.

Keywords: Atopic hypersensitivity; digestive diseases; eosinophil cationic protein; feces; fluorescent enzyme immunoassay; reference values; stool sample

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Allergy Department, Hospital ClĂ­nico San Carlos, Madrid, Spain

Publication date: July 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

    Articles marked "F" offer free full text for personal noncommercial use only.

    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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