Lipocalin-2: A Master Mediator of Intestinal and Metabolic Inflammation

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 May;28(5):388-397. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2017.01.003. Epub 2017 Feb 15.


Lipocalin-2 (LCN2), also known as neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), is released by various cell types and is an attractive biomarker of inflammation, ischemia, infection, and kidney damage. Both intestinal and metabolic inflammation, as observed in obesity and related disorders, are associated with increased LCN2 synthesis. While LCN2 in the intestinal tract regulates the composition of the gut microbiota and shows anti-inflammatory activities, it also exhibits proinflammatory activities in other experimental settings. In animal models of metabolic inflammation, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), increased LCN2 expression favors inflammation via the recruitment of inflammatory cells, such as neutrophils, and the induction of proinflammatory cytokines. A better understanding of this crucial marker of innate immunity might pave the way for targeting this pathway in future therapies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Lipocalin-2 / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Lipocalin-2