Fecal tumor necrosis factor alpha, eosinophil cationic protein and IgE levels in infants with cow's milk allergy and gastrointestinal manifestations.Clin Chem Lab Med 1999; 37(1):29-32CC
Infants with atopic eczema exhibit a specific fecal protein pattern after oral challenge with cow's milk, characterized by an increase in both eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha. The aim of our study was to determine the pattern of these proteins in allergic infants with intestinal manifestations. TNFalpha, ECP and immunoglobulin E (IgE) were measured in stools from 13 infants with intestinal symptoms and 10 healthy infants. The allergic infants underwent two stool collections, one before a cow's milk challenge and the other after the challenge, either at the onset of clinical manifestations (n=6) or 15 days after the challenge if no clinical manifestations occurred (n=7). Baseline TNFalpha, ECP and IgE levels were low in all infants. The concentration of TNFalpha increased after the challenge in infants positive to challenge (p<0.05) but not in those negative to challenge. ECP and IgE levels remained low after the challenge in all the allergic infants. These data confirm that fecal TNFalpha and ECP levels indicate various reaction types of food allergy and that different immunologic disturbances lead to atopic eczema or intestinal symptoms during food allergy. Fecal protein pattern can thus be a useful tool in diagnosing food allergy in infants with intestinal manifestations.