Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin as a marker of acute kidney injury after orthotopic liver transplantation

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2011 May;26(5):1717-23. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfq770. Epub 2011 Jan 21.


Background: Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is a novel, sensitive and specific biomarker that is rapidly released after kidney injury. It predicts acute kidney injury (AKI) in multiple clinical scenarios. We hypothesized that urinary NGAL can predict AKI after liver transplantation.

Methods: Urine was collected in 92 patients undergoing liver transplantation (18 living-related and 74 deceased) before surgery, after reperfusion of the liver graft and then 3, 18 and 24 h later. NGAL was analyzed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and corrected for dilution/concentration by calculating urinary NGAL/urine creatinine ratios. AKI was defined by Risk-Injury-Failure-Loss-Endstage stage kidney disease (RIFLE)-risk criteria (increase of serum creatinine by >50%).

Results: Urinary NGAL/urine creatinine ratio was low prior to surgery and increased immediately after reperfusion, peaked 3 h later and remained elevated at 18 and 24 h. Urinary NGAL/urine creatinine ratios were higher in patients with post-operative (post-OP) AKI defined by RIFLE--risk criteria 3 and 18 h after reperfusion. The area under the curve of the receiver operator characteristics curve of urinary NGAL/urine creatinine ratio to predict AKI was 0.800 (95% CI: 0.732-0.869, P < 0.0001) 3 h and 0.636 (95% CI: 0.551-0.720, P < 0.005) 18 h after reperfusion.

Conclusions: We conclude that urinary NGAL/urine creatinine ratio is able to predict post-OP AKI 3 and 18 h after transplantation with good discrimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Acute Kidney Injury / urine*
  • Acute-Phase Proteins / urine*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / urine*
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / urine*


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • LCN2 protein, human
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Creatinine