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Pediatr Res. 2008 Oct;64(4):423-8. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e318181b3b2.

Urinary NGAL in premature infants.

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  • 1Division of Neonatology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


Premature infants are at unique risk for developing acute kidney injury (AKI) due to incomplete nephrogenesis, early exposure to nephrotoxic medications, and coexisting conditions such as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) and respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Unfortunately, laboratory testing for the diagnosis of AKI in this population is problematic because of the physiology of both the placenta and the extra-uterine premature kidney. Recent research has led to the development of promising biomarkers for the early detection of AKI in children but there are no published reports in neonates. Our goal was to determine whether urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) was detectable in premature infants and to correlate levels with gestational age, birth weight (BW), or indomethacin exposure. We enrolled 20 infants in four BW groups: 500-750, 751-1000, 1001-1250, and 1251-1500 g. Urine was collected every day for the first 14 d of life. Neonates born at earlier gestational ages and lower BWs had higher urine NGAL levels (p < 0.01). We conclude that urine NGAL is easily obtained in premature infants and that it correlates significantly with both BW and gestational age. The use of urinary NGAL as a biomarker of AKI in premature infants warrants further investigation.

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