Glomerular filtration rate estimation from plasma creatinine after inhibition of tubular secretion: relevance of the creatinine assay

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 1999 May;14(5):1247-51. doi: 10.1093/ndt/14.5.1247.


Background: Estimation of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) from plasma creatinine concentration after inhibition of tubular creatinine secretion with cimetidine provides a good assessment in patients with various nephropathies and with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). The aim of this study was to compare cimetidine-aided GFR estimations using various creatinine assays.

Methods: In 30 outpatients with NIDDM GFR was measured as the urinary clearance of continuously infused [125I]iothalamate. Plasma creatinine concentration was analysed after oral cimetidine with an alkaline picrate (AP) method, with an enzymatic (PAP) assay and with HPLC. GFR estimations were calculated with the Cockcroft Gault formula (CG).

Results: AP creatinine concentrations were significantly higher than PAP or HPLC values. GFR estimations by AP (CG(AP) 66 +/- 19 ml/min/1.73 m2, mean SD) were significantly lower than GFR (89 +/- 30), whereas CG(PAP) (85 +/- 30) and CG(HPLC) (84 +/- 34 ml/min/1.73 m2) were not. Bland and Altman analysis showed a difference between CG(AP) and GFR of -22.4 +/- 17.7 ml/min/1.73 m2; this difference becomes larger when the GFR increases. The difference between CG and GFR was only -3.8 +/- 14.8 ml/min/1.73 m2 for PAP and -4.4 +/- 17.5 ml/min/1.73 m2 for HPLC, without any systematic difference.

Conclusion: A good assessment of the GFR from plasma creatinine after cimetidine administration is possible when creatinine is measured with an enzymatic assay or with the less convenient HPLC method. The more widespread and cheaper alkaline picrate assay is not suitable for GFR-estimation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cimetidine / pharmacology
  • Creatinine / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Picrates


  • Picrates
  • Cimetidine
  • picric acid
  • Creatinine