Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) is a group of proteins with different functions. NGAL is released by different cell types such as epithelial cell, hepatocytes and renal tubular cells during inflammation and after cell injury. Expression of NGAL is induced under various pathophysiological conditions such as infection, cancer, inflammation, kidney injury, cardiovascular disease, burn injury, and intoxication, which has an important anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory role. Subjects with Down's syndrome (DS) are affected by many pathological age related conditions such as mental retardation, Alzheimer's disease, immune defects and increased susceptibility to infections. The aim of this study is to evaluate possible use of NGAL as a marker of inflammatory status for allow an early diagnosis of inflammatory disease such as autoimmune disease in DS patients, that are more susceptible to these pathologies, especially in elderly subjects. In this study were recruited 3 groups of DS subjects (children, adults and elderly) and compared them to healthy control group. The molecules of interest was determinated by immuno-enzymatic assay (ELISA). Our results show that NGAL plasmatic level was significantly higher in DS patients compared to healthy controls. Moreover NGAL levels increase in correlation with the age, and showed a significantly correlation between the increase with the severity of disease. DS is characterized by an enhancement of gene production such as GART, SOD-1 and CBS that encode specific protein and enzyme involved in hydrogen peroxide and superoxide production, species highly cytotoxic implicated in inflammation and ageing. NGAL may have the potential application to ameliorate the toxicity induced by oxidative stress conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, thalassemia, cardiovascular disease, burn injury, transplantation, diabetes, and aging.
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