Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and risk of cardiovascular disease and death in CKD: results from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study

Am J Kidney Dis. 2015 Feb;65(2):267-74. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.07.025. Epub 2014 Oct 11.


Background: Chronic kidney disease is common and is associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. Currently, markers of renal tubular injury are not used routinely to describe kidney health and little is known about the risk of cardiovascular events and death associated with these biomarkers independent of glomerular filtration-based markers (such as serum creatinine or albuminuria).

Study design: Cohort study, CRIC (Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort) Study.

Setting & participants: 3,386 participants with estimated glomerular filtration rate of 20 to 70mL/min/1.73m(2) enrolled from June 2003 through August 2008.

Predictor: Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) concentration.

Outcomes: Adjudicated heart failure event, ischemic atherosclerotic event (myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or peripheral artery disease), and death through March 2011.

Measurements: Urine NGAL measured at baseline with a 2-step assay using chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay technology on an ARCHITECT i2000SR (Abbott Laboratories).

Results: There were 428 heart failure events (during 16,383 person-years of follow-up), 361 ischemic atherosclerotic events (during 16,584 person-years of follow-up), and 522 deaths (during 18,214 person-years of follow-up). In Cox regression models adjusted for estimated glomerular filtration rate, albuminuria, demographics, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, and cardiac medications, higher urine NGAL levels remained associated independently with ischemic atherosclerotic events (adjusted HR for the highest [>49.5ng/mL] vs lowest [≤6.9ng/mL] quintile, 1.83 [95% CI, 1.20-2.81]; HR per 0.1-unit increase in log urine NGAL, 1.012 [95% CI, 1.001-1.023]), but not heart failure events or deaths.

Limitations: Urine NGAL was measured only once.

Conclusions: Among patients with chronic kidney disease, urine levels of NGAL, a marker of renal tubular injury, were associated independently with future ischemic atherosclerotic events, but not with heart failure events or deaths.

Keywords: Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL); biomarker; cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease (CKD); ischemic atherosclerotic event; renal tubular dysfunction; renal tubular injury.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / urine*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / urine*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / urine*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality / trends
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / urine*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / mortality*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / urine*
  • Risk Factors


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