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Disease Markers
Volume 2017, Article ID 2413437, 6 pages
Research Article

Zonulin: A Potential Marker of Intestine Injury in Newborns

1Department of Intensive Care and Neonatal Pathology, School of Medicine in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
2Health Promotion and Obesity Management Unit, Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland

Correspondence should be addressed to Iwona Maruniak-Chudek;

Received 7 April 2017; Accepted 7 June 2017; Published 9 July 2017

Academic Editor: Natacha Turck

Copyright © 2017 Anna Tarko et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Zonulin (ZO), a new diagnostic biomarker of intestinal permeability, was tested in newborns presenting symptoms of infection and/or inflammation of the gut or being at risk of intestinal pathology. Material and Methods. Serum ZO was assessed in 81 newborns diagnosed with sepsis, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), rotavirus infection, and gastroschisis, also in extremely low gestational age babies, and in controls (healthy newborns). ZO concentration was compared to C-reactive protein (CRP) and procalcitonin (PCT) values, leucocyte and platelet count, basic demographic data, and the value of the Neonatal Therapeutic Intervention Scoring System (NTISS). Results. Median values of ZO were markedly higher in groups with rotavirus infection and gastroschisis (36.0 (1-3Q: 26.0–43.2) and 20.3 (1-3Q: 17.7–28.2) ng/ml, resp.) versus controls (3.5 (1-3Q: 2.7–4.8) ng/ml). Its concentration in the NEC group was twice as high as in controls but did not reach statistical significance. ZO levels were not related to NTISS, CRP, and PCT. Conclusions. Zonulin is a promising biomarker of intestinal condition, markedly elevated in rotavirus infections. Its role in defining the severity of necrotizing enterocolitis and the risk for perforation is not well described and needs further evaluation. An increase in zonulin may not be parallel to the release of inflammatory markers, and low CRP should not exclude an injury to neonatal intestine.