Sensitive and accurate serum biomarkers for monitoring acute and chronic kidney disease progression are more convenient and can better evaluate drug efficiency in pharmacological research. Neutrophil Gelatinase-associated Lipocalin (NGAL) is considered a hopeful early biomarker of acute kidney injury (AKI), but its utility in early prediction and prognosis of diabetic nephropathy (DN) and immune-mediated glomerulonephritis is still not clear. Moreover, detailed prognosis studies of NGAL in AKI are lacking, and most studies use a urine source. In the current study, through two experimental AKI and two chronic kidney injury animal models, serum NGAL (sNGAL) prediction values on diagnosis and prognosis of kidney injuries in animal disease models have been investigated thoroughly. Four experimental kidney disease models include cisplatin-induced and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced AKI, streptozocin-induced diabetic nephropathy (DN), and cationized-bovine serum albumin (c-BSA)-induced membranous nephropathy (MN), respectively. The sNGAL concentration was measured at different stages of kidney injury (KI) in each experimental model, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses were performed to investigate the diagnosis efficiency of sNGAL for KI. Western blot and immunohistochemistry were used to measure the protein levels in the kidneys, and pathological analysis was used as the gold standard to confirm KI. Results suggest that sNGAL can predict early diagnosis of cisplatin-induced AKI accurately but is less powerful in later stages compared to blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine (Scr). sNGAL is sensitive but lacks specificity to evaluate early kidney injury for LPS-induced AKI under low-dosage LPS challenge. sNGAL is not an efficient biomarker for early diagnosis of STZ-induced DN, but sNGAL is an efficient predictor for the early diagnosis and prognosis of immune-mediated MN. In conclusion, application of sNGAL as a kidney injury biomarker to determine the diagnosis and prognosis in pharmacological studies is dependent on experimental animal models.
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