Serum cystatin C for assessment of glomerular filtration rate in pregnant and non-pregnant women. Indications of altered filtration process in pregnancy

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2002;62(2):141-7. doi: 10.1080/003655102753611771.


Serum cystatin C is believed to reflect the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) more closely than serum creatinine in many contexts and a reference interval for serum cystatin C in term pregnancy has been defined to enable its use also in pregnant women. However, serum cystatin C levels were not found to be decreased in term pregnancy, though GFR of low molecular mass substances is known to increase by at least 40% by the third trimester. The aim of this study was therefore to determine whether serum cystatin C is a reliable GFR marker also in pregnant women. GFR was determined by measurement of plasma clearance of iohexol in 48 previously healthy women in their third trimester and in 12 healthy nonpregnant women, and was compared with their serum levels of cystatin C and creatinine. Both serum cystatin C and creatinine levels were significantly related to GFR for both pregnant and non-pregnant women. However, the correlation between cystatin C and GFR was set at different levels for pregnant and nonpregnant women. Our results indicate a physiological difference between the filtration processes in kidneys of pregnant and non-pregnant women, whether it is size-dependent, configuration-dependent or charge-dependent. Nevertheless, serum cystatin C seems to reflect GFR reliably in both non-pregnant and pregnant, healthy and hypertensive women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins / blood*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Renal / blood
  • Hypertension, Renal / diagnosis
  • Kidney Function Tests / methods
  • Pre-Eclampsia / blood*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy


  • CST3 protein, human
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins