Longitudinal NGAL and cystatin C plasma profiles present a high level of heterogeneity in a mixed ICU population

Daniela Jou-Valencia, Meint Volbeda, Jan G Zijlstra, Jenny E Kootstra-Ros, Jill Moser, Matijs van Meurs, Jacqueline Koeze*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: NGAL and Cystatin C (CysC) as biomarkers for the early detection of AKI are subject to both pathophysiological, as well as patient related heterogeneity. The aim of this study was to investigate the timeline of plasma levels of NGAL and CysC during the first seven days of ICU admission in a mixed ICU population and to relate these to AKI severity during ICU stay. Via these means we aimed to bring clarity to the previously reported heterogeneity of these renal biomarkers.

METHODS: Prospective Observation Cohort. Consecutive patients admitted to adult ICU at an academic hospital in the Netherlands between 18-02-2014 and 31-03-2014 were included. Urine output, serum creatinine, plasma NGAL and CysC were recorded during the first seven days of ICU admission. Biomarker expression was analyzed based on KDIGO score and time of AKI diagnosis.

RESULTS: 335 patients were included, 110 met KDIGO criteria for AKI. NGAL and CysC plasma levels were higher in AKI patients compared to non-AKI, high variability in individual values resulted in 56% of AKI patients having a false negative, and 32% of non-AKI patients having a false positive. Individual biomarker levels were variable, and no pattern based on KDIGO score was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Plasma NGAL and CysC as biomarkers for the early AKI detection may be subject to pathophysiological, and patient related heterogeneity. Further understanding of individual biomarker profiles may help in their application amongst mixed ICU populations.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The need for informed consent was waived by the Institutional Ethical Review Board of the University Medical Center Groningen (METc 2013 - 174) by Prof. dr. W.A. Kamps on May 17th 2013.

Original languageEnglish
Article number43
Number of pages10
JournalBmc nephrology
Publication statusPublished - 29-Jan-2024


  • Heterogeneity
  • NGAL
  • Timeline
  • AKI
  • Cystatin C


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