Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 11, pp 2972–2976 | Cite as

Low Levels of Procalcitonin During Episodes of Necrotizing Enterocolitis

  • Dan Turner
  • Cathy Hammerman
  • Bernard Rudensky
  • Yechiel Schlesinger
  • Eytan Wine
  • Aleixo Muise
  • Michael S. Schimmel
Original Paper


The pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) remains poorly understood. We aimed to assess the extent of bacterial infection in the pathogenesis of NEC using serial procalcitonin measurements. Blood samples were drawn during the first 4 days following every clinical event requiring a workup for presumed NEC. Eight episodes were confirmed as NEC, 7 of which showed procalcitonin levels <1 ng/ml at presentation and <1.3 ng/ml thereafter, comparable to 24 healthy controls. The one infant with elevated procalcitonin had bacteremia in addition to NEC. Procalcitonin levels of 24 matched septic infants were higher than those of NEC infants, peaking at 4.1 ng/ml. We conclude that low procalcitonin values are the rule during episodes of NEC and provide further evidence that overactive local immune response, and not active infection, is primarily responsible for the mucosal damage in NEC.


Necrotizing enterocolitis Preterm infants Procalcitonin Etiology 



BRAHMS Diagnostica provided the testing kits for PCT determination but was not involved in any part of the study design, data collection, data analysis, or manuscript preparation. The authors wish to thank the nurses of NICU who meticulously collected the blood samples.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dan Turner
    • 1
    • 5
  • Cathy Hammerman
    • 2
  • Bernard Rudensky
    • 3
  • Yechiel Schlesinger
    • 4
  • Eytan Wine
    • 5
  • Aleixo Muise
    • 5
  • Michael S. Schimmel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of NeonatologyShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  3. 3.Clinical Microbiology Laboratory Shaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  4. 4.Pediatric Infectious Disease UnitShaare Zedek Medical CenterJerusalemIsrael
  5. 5.Division of GastroenterologyHepatology and Nutrition, Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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