Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 60, Issue 10, pp 2946–2952 | Cite as

Fecal Human β-Defensin 2 in Children with Cystic Fibrosis: Is There a Diminished Intestinal Innate Immune Response?

  • Chee Y. Ooi
  • Tamara Pang
  • Steven T. Leach
  • Tamarah Katz
  • Andrew S. Day
  • Adam Jaffe
Original Article



Defects in bacterial host defenses in the cystic fibrosis (CF) airways have been extensively investigated, but the role of the intestinal innate immune system in CF is unknown. Human β-defensin 2 (HBD-2) is an antimicrobial protein produced by epithelial surfaces and upregulated by inflammation. Its expression in the CF intestine is unknown.


To determine whether HBD-2 was present in the feces of patients with CF, and to compare fecal HBD-2 levels between CF and healthy controls (HC). To compare fecal HBD-2 levels in inflamed and noninflamed states, as measured by fecal calprotectin, as a secondary aim.


Feces from children with CF and HC were collected for analysis.


Thirty-three CF patients and 33 HC were recruited. All CF patients had detectable fecal HBD-2. There was no difference between fecal HBD-2 in CF and HC (median (IQR) 49.1 (19.7–77.2) versus 43.4 (26.5–71.9) ng/g; P = 0.7). Fecal calprotectin was significantly higher in the CF cohort than in HC (median (IQR) 61.3 (43.8–143.8) versus 19.5 (19.5–35.1) mg/kg; P < 0.0001). There was no difference in fecal HBD-2 levels between CF subjects with fecal calprotectin ≥50 mg/kg and <50 mg/kg (50.5 (19.6–80.2) versus 43.0 (19.0–70.4); P = 0.7). There was no correlation between fecal HBD-2 and calprotectin in CF (r = 0.14; P = 0.4).


Fecal HBD-2 levels were not increased in children with CF, in inflamed or noninflamed states. The lack of HBD-2 induction and upregulation under inflammatory conditions may suggest a diminished intestinal innate immune response in CF.


Cystic fibrosis Innate immunity Inflammation Biological markers 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chee Y. Ooi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tamara Pang
    • 1
  • Steven T. Leach
    • 1
  • Tamarah Katz
    • 3
  • Andrew S. Day
    • 4
  • Adam Jaffe
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women’s and Children’s Health, Medicine, Sydney Children’s HospitalUniversity of New South WalesRandwick, SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric GastroenterologySydney Children’s HospitalRandwick, SydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Nutrition and DieteticsSydney Children’s HospitalRandwick, SydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Paediatrics, Christchurch HospitalUniversity of OtagoChristchurchNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of Paediatric RespiratorySydney Children’s HospitalRandwick, SydneyAustralia

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