Lipocalin-2: Structure, function, distribution and role in metabolic disorders

Saeeda Al Jaberi, Athena Cohen, Crystal D'Souza, Yousef M. Abdulrazzaq, Shreesh Ojha, Salim Bastaki, Ernest A. Adeghate

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Lipocalin-2 (LCN-2) is a novel, 198 amino acid adipocytokine also referred to as neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL). LCN-2 is a circulatory protein responsible for the transportation of small and hydrophobic molecules (steroid, free fatty acids, prostaglandins and hormones) to target organs after binding to megalin/glycoprotein and GP330 SLC22A17 or 24p3R LCN-2 receptors. LCN-2 has been used as a biomarker for acute and chronic renal injury. It is present in a large variety of cells including neutrophil, hepatocytes, lung, bone marrow, adipose tissue, macrophages, thymus, non-neoplastic breast duct, prostate, and renal cells. Different functions have been associated with LCN-2. These functions include antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and protection against cell and tissue stress. Moreover, LCN-2 can increase the pool of matrix metalloproteinase 9 in human neutrophil granulocytes. Other reported functions of LCN-2 include its ability to destroy the extracellular matrix, which could enable cancer progression and spread of metastasis. Recent reports show that the tissue level of LCN-2 is increased in metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, suggesting an association between LCN-2 and insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis. The precise role of LCN-2 in the modulation of insulin sensitivity, glucose and lipid metabolism is still unclear. This review explores the structure of LCN-2, tissue distribution, and its interaction with important metabolic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112002
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Biomarkers of diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Metabolic disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Lipocalin-2: Structure, function, distribution and role in metabolic disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this