Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a common complication in several settings inside and outside hospitals. It affects millions of people around the world, and despite high levels of research funding, there is no specific treatment that changes the disease course. The basis for unfavorable outcomes related to this disease is the failure to provide early diagnosis. Currently, the diagnosis of AKI is based on serum creatinine and urine output, and both measures have several limitations, making early diagnosis difficult. In recent decades, several biomarkers of kidney injury have been proposed, with neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) being one of most studied and promising for use in early diagnosis. Despite there being several studies on NGAL, it has not yet been applied in clinical practice; thus, furthering the understanding of the development, interpretation, and limitations of NGAL in the diagnosis of AKI is the objective of this chapter.
Part of the book: Inflammation in the 21st Century