Urinary Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) Predicts Renal Function Decline in Patients With Glomerular Diseases

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 May 29;8:336. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00336. eCollection 2020.


Objective: Available biomarkers for monitoring primary glomerulonephritides (GNs), often lack the ability to assess longitudinal changes and have great variability with poor sensitivity. Accruing evidence has demonstrated that Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL), holds promising capacities in predicting renal function worsening in various renal diseases. We aimed at analyzing urinary NGAL (uNGAL) levels in a cohort of individuals with biopsy-proven GNs in order to evaluate its ability to reflect the entity of renal damage and to predict disease evolution overtime.

Methods: We enrolled 61 consecutive GNs patients still naïve to pathogenic therapy. uNGAL levels were measured at baseline and patients prospectively followed until the manifestation of a combined outcome of doubling of baseline serum creatinine and/or end-stage kidney disease requiring permanent dialysis support.

Results: Median uNGAL levels were 107[35-312] ng/mL. At univariate and multivariate analyses an inverse correlation was found between eGFR and uNGAL levels (p = 0.001). Progressor subjects showed exceedingly increased baseline uNGAL values as compared with non-progressors (p < 0.001). Twenty-one patients (34%) reached the composite renal endpoint. Subjects with uNGAL values above the optimal, ROC-derived, cut-off of 107 ng/mL experienced a more rapid progression to the renal endpoint (p < 0.001; HR: 5.47; 95% CI 2.31-12.95) with a mean follow-up time to progression of 73.4 vs 83.5 months.

Conclusion: In patients affected by primary glomerulonephritides, uNGAL may represent a real-time indicator of renal damage and an independent predictor of renal disease progression. Further studies on larger populations are warranted to confirm these findings.

Keywords: CKD – chronic kidney disease; glomerulonefritis; prediction; renal function; urinary NGAL.