The effect of asthma pathogenesis on serum cystatin C, a potent inhibitor of cysteine proteinases and a newly proposed marker of the renal function, has not been yet determined. The objectives were to determine the 24-h pattern of cystatin C and creatinine concentrations in sera of asthmatic patients in order to test whether their concentrations might reflect circadian rhythms, the disease severity and the effect of therapy. Serum concentrations of cystatin C and creatinine were determined in steroid-independent and steroid-dependent asthmatics before and after 1 week of treatment with methylprednisolone and cyclosporin A, respectively. Samples were collected every 4 h during a 24-h period. Little or no significant effects of time on cystatin C and creatinine concentrations over a 24-h period were observed in healthy and asthmatic sera. However, significantly higher cystatin C concentrations were found in asthmatic patients compared to controls which suggests its role in the pathogenesis of asthma. Methylprednisolone increased and cyclosporin A decreased serum cystatin C concentrations after 1 week of therapy. Additionally these results support the need for the evaluation of cystatin C as a marker of glomerular filtration rate determination in asthma.