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Review Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2022; 26(1): 1-13

Published online January 1, 2022 https://doi.org/10.4196/kjpp.2022.26.1.1

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Kidney protective potential of lactoferrin: pharmacological insights and therapeutic advances

Md. Sarwar Zahan1, Kazi Ahsan Ahmed1, Akhi Moni1, Alessandra Sinopoli2,3, Hunjoo Ha4, and Md Jamal Uddin1,4,*

1ABEx Bio-Research Center, Dhaka 1230, Bangladesh,2Department of Prevention, Local Health Unit Roma 1, Rome 00185, 3Department of Experimental Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome 00185, Italy,4Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ewha Womans University College of Pharmacy, Seoul 03760, Korea

Correspondence to:Md Jamal Uddin
E-mail: hasan800920@gmail.com

Received: October 28, 2021; Revised: November 29, 2021; Accepted: November 30, 2021

This is an Open Access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Kidney disease is becoming a global public health issue. Acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) have serious adverse health outcomes. However, there is no effective therapy to treat these diseases. Lactoferrin (LF), a multi-functional glycoprotein, is protective against various pathophysiological conditions in various disease models. LF shows protective effects against AKI and CKD. LF reduces markers related to inflammation, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and kidney fibrosis, and induces autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis in the kidney. Although there are no clinical trials of LF to treat kidney disease, several clinical trials and studies on LF-based drug development are ongoing. In this review, we discussed the possible kidney protective mechanisms of LF, as well as the pharmacological and therapeutic advances. The evidence suggests that LF may become a potent pharmacological agent to treat kidney diseases.

Keywords: Drug development, Kidney disease, Lactoferrin, Pharmacology, Therapeutics