Cystatin-C and beta trace protein as markers of renal function in pregnancy

BJOG. 2005 May;112(5):575-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2004.00492.x.


Objective: To assess the validity of Cystatin-C (Cys-C) and beta trace protein (BTP) as clinical markers of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in pregnant women.

Design: Prospective cross sectional study.

Setting: Obstetric unit of a tertiary care hospital.

Population: One hundred and thirty-seven normal pregnant women and 13 women postpartum.

Methods: Twenty-four hour creatinine clearance (CrCl), serum creatinine, Cys-C and BTP concentrations were measured on normal pregnant women in the first trimester (n= 5), second trimester (n= 68) and third trimester (n= 64) and in 13 women postpartum. Data are given as median (2.5th centile, 97.5th centile).

Main outcome measures: Serum concentrations of Cys-C and BTP compared with creatinine clearance and serum creatinine.

Results: The median serum creatinine throughout gestation was 53 micromol/L (39, 71), and median CrCl was 143 mL/minute (91 to 216). Postpartum, creatinine rose to 74 micromol/L (58, 86) and CrCl decreased to 104 mL/minute (71, 159). For Cys-C, the median concentration was 0.70 mg/L (0.46, 1.32), and 0.54 mg/L (0.36, 0.96) for BTP. Comparing the second and third trimesters, there was no significant difference between CrCl (median 145 vs 141 mL/minute) and BTP concentrations (median 0.51 vs 0.55 mg/L), while median Cys-C was significantly higher in the third trimester (0.61 vs 0.88 mg/L; P < 0.001). Unlike creatinine and BTP, Cys-C levels decreased to 0.72 mg/L (0.57, 0.95) postpartum. The only significant relationship of either of these markers to the standard used for GFR was between Cys-C and CrCl in the third trimester, and the correlation was weak (r= 0.27 for 1/Cys-C vs CrCl).

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that despite claims to the contrary, Cys-C is a poor marker of GFR during pregnancy. Similarly, BTP shows little promise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins / blood*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / blood*
  • Kidney Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lipocalins
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Prenatal Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Biomarkers
  • CST3 protein, human
  • Cystatin C
  • Cystatins
  • Lipocalins
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • prostaglandin R2 D-isomerase