Kidney protective potential of lactoferrin: pharmacological insights and therapeutic advances

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2022 Jan 1;26(1):1-13. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2022.26.1.1.


Kidney disease is becoming a global public health issue. Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) have serious adverse health outcomes. However, there is no effective therapy to treat these diseases. Lactoferrin (LF), a multi-functional glycoprotein, is protective against various pathophysiological conditions in various disease models. LF shows protective effects against AKI and CKD. LF reduces markers related to inflammation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and kidney fibrosis, and induces autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis in the kidney. Although there are no clinical trials of LF to treat kidney disease, several clinical trials and studies on LF-based drug development are ongoing. In this review, we discussed the possible kidney protective mechanisms of LF, as well as the pharmacological and therapeutic advances. The evidence suggests that LF may become a potent pharmacological agent to treat kidney diseases.

Keywords: Drug development; Kidney disease; Lactoferrin; Pharmacology; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review