Blood neutrophil-to-lymphocyte (N/L) ratio is an indicator of the overall inflammatory status of the body, and an alteration in N/L ratio may be found in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients.
An optimal test has not yet been developed for UC and therefore the adjunctive use of additional blood markers may add a significant advantage for predicting disease severity and achieving diagnostic precision.
Medical scientists at Erciyes University (Kayseri, Turkey) enrolled 26 UC patients, 18 males and 8 females, and 28 healthy controls, 10 males and 18 females in the study. Complete blood counts, erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESR), and C-reactive protein levels (CRP) were established for both patients and controls. The white blood count (WBC), neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts were recorded, and the N/L ratios were calculated from these parameters. The median disease duration in UC patients was 2.75 years.
The N/L ratios of patients with active UC were significantly higher at 3.85 ± 2.71 than those of inactive UC at 2.40 ± 1.05 and controls at 1.77 ± 0.68 were. The optimum N/L ratio cut-off point for active UC was 2.47. There was no significant difference between inflammation parameters, disease extension, and disease activity. The other inflammation markers such as ESR and CRP were also higher in the patients with active UC.
The authors concluded that in patients with UC, the N/L ratio is strongly associated with active disease. Unlike many other noninvasive markers of UC, the N/L ratio is inexpensive and readily available. Although the accuracy of the N/L ratio for detecting active UC is suboptimal, the ratio is an easily derived measure that might, in combination with other markers, assist in identifying patients at increased risk of active and severe disease. The study was published in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Clinical Laboratory Analysis.