In an effort to increase our knowledge of the optimal use of serum cystatin C and creatinine as glomerular filtration rate (GFR) markers, these variables, as well as lean tissue mass and GFR, were determined in a population of 42 healthy young adults (men and women with normal GFR). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and measurement of the plasma clearance of iohexol were used to measure lean tissue mass and GFR, respectively. Serum creatinine was significantly correlated to lean tissue mass (r=0.65; p < 0.0001) but not to GFR (1/creatinine vs. GFR: r=0.11; p=0.106). In contrast, serum cystatin C correlated with GFR (1/cystatin C vs. GFR: r=0.32; p=0.0387), especially in men (1/cystatin C vs. GFR: r=0.64; p=0.0055), but not to lean tissue mass. These results might explain previous observations that serum cystatin C seems to be a better marker for GFR than serum creatinine, particularly for individuals with small to moderate decreases in GFR. However, the results also show that the serum concentrations of both creatinine and cystatin C are determined not only by GFR, but also by other factors. Since these additional factors differ for cystatin C and creatinine, it seems justified to use serum creatinine and cystatin C in conjunction to estimate GFR, at least until it is known in what situations serum creatinine or cystatin C is the preferable marker.