Assay of a urinary CF-lectin factor as a second diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis

Am J Med Sci. 1990 Feb;299(2):103-6. doi: 10.1097/00000441-199002000-00005.


Analysis of urine samples for a lectin-like factor in patients with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF) revealed that the low molecular weight (MW) factor is present in urine only from such patients and not from heterozygous carriers of the CF gene or from normal controls. The urine fraction containing the factor must be separated from whole urine by a gel filtration column (TSK-20) for the activity to appear. The assay requires addition of an aliquot of normal serum to provide the necessary IgM to which the CF-factor binds, resulting in the lectin-like activity that causes agglutination of mouse erythrocytes. All 22 CF patients tested, who were not receiving intravenous (IV) antibiotics had positive CF-lectin urinary activity, whereas five others receiving IV aminoglycosides were negative. Four patients with a clinical diagnosis of CF, but with normal sweat tests (35-54 mEq/L), all had positive urinary CF-lectin tests. A blind study in which urine samples were shipped from Miami, FL to Sepulveda, CA was completely successful in correctly identifying 11 samples from CF patients as compared with ten from non-CF patients. It was concluded that an assay for urinary CF-lectin factor is specific and reliable for confirming a diagnosis of CF when the sweat test is indeterminate, and when patients have not received recent IV aminoglycosides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Chlorides / analysis
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Chromatography, Ion Exchange
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diagnosis
  • Cystic Fibrosis / urine*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lectins / urine*
  • Male
  • Molecular Weight
  • Sweat / analysis
  • Tobramycin / pharmacology


  • Chlorides
  • Lectins
  • Tobramycin