Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has recently assumed epidemic proportion, becoming a troubling emerging cause of morbidity, especially if it progresses to terminal stage (ESRD).
The study authors aimed to evaluate whether neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), a novel specific biomarker of acute kidney injury, could predict the progression of CKD.
Lipocalin. Image source: Wikipedia and Protein Data Bank, public domain.
The lipocalins are a family of proteins which transport small hydrophobic molecules such as steroids, retinoids, and lipids. Lipocalin proteins are involved in inflammation processes caused by immune system activation in mammals.
"Elevated neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) in urine and blood is a strong predictor of CKD progression. Massive amounts of NGAL are released from kidney tubular cells after various injuries to the kidney and NGAL in the blood and urine was inversely, independently, and closely related to eGFR.
Blood concentrations of NGAL were 515.4 ng/mL in CKD patients compared with 35.4 ng/mL in a group of healthy controls. Patients with higher NGAL levels had a considerably increased risk of worsening kidney function within 1 year compared with those with lower NGAL levels.
Blood and urine levels of NGAL predicted a higher risk of chronic kidney disease progression regardless of eGFR levels or patient age.
NGAL may offer a "great new tool" for preventing the progression of kidney disease. Measurement in the blood and urine among CKD patients could help identify those most likely to develop worsening disease who should receive aggressive treatments."
Protein predicts chronic kidney disease progression. Reuters.
Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) and Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2009.
Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) as a biomarker for acute renal injury after cardiac surgery. Lancet. 2005 Apr 2-8;365(9466):1231-8.
Lipocalin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.