Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in septic preterm babies: a preliminary study

Am J Perinatol. 2013 Sep;30(8):655-60. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1329692. Epub 2012 Dec 31.


Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the predictive value of urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) for acute kidney injury (AKI) among septic preterm infants.

Methods: Twenty-six very low-birth-weight (VLBW) babies were separated into three groups: group I, healthy preterms; group II, preterms with sepsis but without AKI; group III, preterms with sepsis and AKI. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data of the babies were recorded. uNGAL and creatinine values were obtained on days 1, 3, and 7 of life.

Results: uNGAL levels differed statistically among three groups for all 3 days. Levels in group I (days 1, 3, and 7) were significant lower than levels in both groups II and III [median (interquartile range): 4.5 (10.8) µ/L, 8.7 (18.5) µ/L, and 4.3 (1.1) µ/L, respectively]. In group III, uNGAL levels on days 1 and 3 were significantly higher than levels in group II (p = 0.001, 0.016, respectively).

Conclusion: First-day uNGAL levels were higher in VLBW preterm infants who later developed sepsis; whether the baby had AKI or not; but uNGAL levels were higher in septic babies with AKI compared with the infants without AKI. uNGAL is a promising early biomarker of AKI in VLBW infants with sepsis.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / urine*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Creatinine / urine*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / urine*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / urine*
  • Lipocalins
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sepsis / urine*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Biomarkers
  • Lipocalins
  • Creatinine