Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (Ngal, 24p3, SIP24, lipocalin 2, or siderocalin) was originally purified from neutrophils, but with unknown function. Recently, it was identified that Ngal activates nephron formation in the embryonic kidney, is rapidly and massively induced in renal failure and possesses kidney-protective activity. We would like to propose that blood, urine, and kidney Ngal levels are the real-time indicators of active kidney damage, rather than one of many markers of functional nephron number (as Forest Fire Theory). Ngal is a novel iron-carrier protein exerting pleiotropic actions including the upregulation of epithelial marker E-cadherin expression, opening an exciting field in cell biology.
PMID:17342180[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]