Introduction: Serum cystatin C was recently proposed as an alternative marker of glomerular filtration rate (GFR), with a suggested better performance than creatinine. However, detailed studies are limited. We evaluated the performance of cystatin C as a GFR marker.
Methods: GFR was measured by inulin clearance in 763 Japanese subjects. Factors other than GFR influencing serum cystatin C or serum creatinine were analyzed by multivariate analyses.
Results: After adjustment for GFR, the value of serum creatinine was 25.2% lower in females than males, and decreased by 5.2% for every 20 years of age. Serum cystatin C was 8.2% lower in females, and did not change significantly with aging. Creatinine but not cystatin C was significantly affected by body weight, height and body mass index after adjustment for GFR, gender and age. The correlation coefficient between GFR and 1/cystatin C was significantly higher than that of 1/creatinine in total subjects (0.866 and 0.810, respectively, p < 0.001). Unlike serum creatinine, serum cystatin C did not increase in association with the reduction of GFR in subjects with very low GFR. The regression line of 1/cystatin C against GFR showed a significantly negative intercept of about -8 ml/min/1.73 m(2).
Conclusion: The performance of serum cystatin C was not good in the subjects with very low GFR. Non-renal elimination of cystatin C may contribute to the result. The correlation between reciprocal cystatin C and GFR suggested its superiority in predicting GFR compared to creatinine in subjects with normal and mildly reduced GFR.