Aim: To evaluate plasma cystatin C as a marker of the glomerular filtration rate in patients with type 2 diabetes and their age and sex-matched controls.
Materials and methods: Forty-seven patients with one decade of type 2 diabetes and 51 non-diabetic control subjects were studied. Plasma cystatin C was measured by particle-enhanced turbidimetric immunoassay in a new application for the Hitachi 704 analyzer. For comparison, plasma creatinine and creatinine clearance were measured. The plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA by the single injection method was utilized as reference.
Results: In patients with type 2 diabetes the correlation coefficient between plasma cystatin C and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA was 0.774 (Spearman's coefficient) and that between plasma creatinine and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA was 0.556 (p = 0.001 for the difference). The correlation between creatinine clearance and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA was 0.411. In receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis the diagnostic accuracy of plasma cystatin C was significantly better than that of plasma creatinine (p = 0.047) or creatinine clearance (p = 0.001). The best diagnostic efficiency (98%) for cystatin C was obtained when the cut-off limit was set at 1.32 mg/l. In the control group the correlation coefficients were: between cystatin C and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA 0.627, between creatinine and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA 0.466 and between creatinine clearance and the plasma clearance of 51Cr-EDTA 0.416. The area under the ROC plot curve of cystatin C was also greatest in the control group, but the diagnostic accuracy of cystatin C was marginally better than that of either plasma creatinine (p = 0.05) or creatinine clearance (p = 0.08). Among the control subjects various non-renal causes may have interfered with cystatin C concentrations reducing the correlations.
Conclusions: Cystatin C measurement is a more sensitive and specific test for GFR in patients with type 2 diabetes than plasma creatinine or its clearance, when GFR is normal or only slightly reduced. If an elevated cystatin C concentration is found, non-renal factors have to be excluded. The turbidimetric application described here can easily be applied for most clinical chemistry analyzers and is therefore useful in daily clinical practice.