The plasma levels of cystatin C, β2-microglobulin, beta-trace protein, retinol binding protein (RBP) and creatinine were determined in plasma samples from 111 randomly selected patients with eGFRcystatin C ≤ 60% of eGFRcreatinine and from 55 control patients with 0.9eGFRcreatinine ≤ eGFRcystatin C ≤ 1.1eGFRcreatinine (eGFRcystatin C ≈ eGFRcreatinine). The concentration ratios of cystatin C/creatinine, β2-microglobulin/creatinine, beta-trace protein/creatinine and RBP/creatinine were significantly higher in patients with eGFRcystatin C ≤ 60% of eGFRcreatinine than in patients with eGFRcystatin C ≈ eGFRcreatinine. When the patients were divided into three groups with different estimated GFR intervals (≤ 40, 40-60 and ≥ 60 mL/min/1.73m(2)) the concentration ratios of cystatin C/creatinine, β2-microglobulin/creatinine, and beta-trace protein/creatinine were significantly higher in patients with eGFRcystatin C ≤ 60% of eGFRcreatinine than in patients with eGFRcystatin C ≈ eGFRcreatinine for all GFR intervals. Similar results were obtained when the population without pregnant women was studied as well as the subpopulations of men or of non-pregnant women. Populations of pre-eclamptic women and pregnant women in the third trimester display similar results. Since the production of these four proteins with sizes similar to that of cystatin C is not co-regulated, the most likely explanation for the simultaneous increase of their creatinine-ratios in patients with eGFRcystatin C ≤ 60% of eGFRcreatinine is that their elimination by glomerular filtration is decreased. We suggest that this is due to a reduction in pore diameter of the glomerular membrane and propose the designation 'Shrunken pore syndrome' for this pathophysiological state.
Keywords: Beta-trace protein; beta 2-microglobulin; creatinine; cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate; kidney diseases; retinol-binding proteins.