Lactoferrin (Lf) is a glycoprotein that is produced by neutrophils, mononuclear phagocytes and epithelial cells and is contained in the secretory fluids such as saliva and breast milk. Its function is to block bacterial growth by limiting the availability of iron and this effect is enhanced by the presence of specific secretory IgA antibodies directed against bacteria. Lf also has a bacteriocidal effect by causing direct damage to cell membranes in cooperation with lisozyme. When inflammation develops in the gastrointestinal tract, neutrophils and phagocytic cells migrate to the inflammatory focus and release the granules containing Lf. Lf is stable in faeces and is easily detected for immunochemical methods.
This marker is elevated in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn disease (CD), represent a spectrum of diseases characterized by an idiopathic and chronic inflammation affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Pediatric and adult patients with IBD may present with a variety of clinical symptoms (including abdominal pain and diarrhea) that can be non-specific.
The CDIA Lactoferrin Test Card is a non-invasive assay used as a way to differentiate patients with inflammatory (invasive bacterial infection, IBD, etc.) from those with noninflammatory (viral, toxigenic, etc.) gastrointestinal illness.
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Walker T R, Land M L, Kartashov A, et al. Fecal lactoferrin is a sensitive and specific marker of disease activity in children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease[J]. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition, 2007, 44(4): 414-422.