NGAL: a biomarker of acute kidney injury

High levels of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) are detectable in the blood and urine of patients with kidney damage before serum creatinine levels go beyond the normal range. For this reason, NGAL is used as a more precise and sensitive biomarker for the clinical diagnosis of acute kidney injury (AKI).

Tools for NGAL research

NGAL (or lipocalin 2), a member of the lipocalin family of small, secreted glycoproteins, has attracted considerable interest in recent years. NGAL is released by activated neutrophils in response to kidney injury, bacterial infection and in some benign and malignant diseases. Due to its small size, secreted nature and stability, NGAL is considered a promising diagnostic and prognostic biomarker of several inflammatory and cancerous diseases, including AKI and sepsis.

NGAL occurs as a 25 kDa glycosylated single protein chain monomer, which also forms dimers and other oligomers as well as forming a stabilizing complex with the proteolytic enzyme, MMP-9. Bangert et al. (2013) found the monomer to be the major form of NGAL in urine and plasma in severe sepsis. Abcam is proud to offer the full length recombinant monomer form of the human NGAL protein (ab188461) for research use. This purified, tag free antigen, can be used in applications such as ELISA, for aiding the detection and quantification of the monomer form of NGAL.

Due to the ​​rapid and dramatic release of NGAL into the plasma and urine during the early stages of kidney injury, NGAL is an ideal candidate for assesing either the nephrotoxicity or effectiveness of therapeutic agents. In addition to the antigen, which can be used as a reliable standard or control, Abcam also provides antibodies and ELISA kits for the accurate detection of NGAL in vitro and in vivo.

​​Click here to discover our NGAL antibodies validated for use in a range of applications including ELISA and IHC, including a human RabMAb®​ antibody for use in ICC, IHC-P and WB.​

Click here to discover our NGAL ELISAs for a variety of species, including a mouse NGAL SimpleStep ELISA®.

Please check back here regularly for new additions to the NGAL range, including FireFly™ protein assays​.


  • Bangert et al (2013) The Monomer is the Major Form of NGAL in Urine and Plasma in Severe Sepsis J Am Soc Nephrol 24: 368A
  • ​ Chakraborty et al (2012) The Multifaceted Roles of Neutrophil Gelatinase Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) In Inflammation and Cancer Biochem Biophys Acta 1826(1)

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