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J Transplant. 2012;2012:563404. doi: 10.1155/2012/563404. Epub 2012 Dec 27.

Urinary NGAL Ratio Is Not a Sensitive Biomarker for Monitoring Acute Tubular Injury in Kidney Transplant Patients: NGAL and ATI in Renal Transplant Patients.

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Division of Nephrology, Hannover Medical School, Carl Neuberg Straße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


Urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) is known to predict the prolonged delayed graft function after kidney transplantation. We examined the relation of uNGAL with histological findings of acute tubular injury (ATI). Analyses were made in biopsies taken at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after kidney transplantation. uNGAL was measured in the spot urines, normalized to urinary creatinine excretion, and correlated to biopsy findings and clinical, laboratory, and demographic variables. Controls included healthy individuals, individuals after kidney donation and ICU patients with acute kidney failure. Renal transplant recipients without ATI did not display elevated uNGAL levels compared to the healthy controls. Transplant patients with ATI had a higher uNGAL excretion at 6 weeks than patients without ATI (27,435 versus 13,605 ng/g; P = 0.031). This increase in uNGAL was minor compared to ICU patients with acute renal failure (2.05 × 106 ng/g). Patients with repeated findings of ATI or severe ATI did not have higher urinary NGAL levels compared to those with only one ATI finding or moderate ATI. Female recipient gender and urinary tract infection were identified as potential confounders. uNGAL has a relation with histological signs of acute tubular injury. The usability of this biomarker in renal allograft recipients is limited because of the low sensitivity.

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