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OBJECTIVE-Assessment and follow-up of early renal dysfunction is important in diabetic nephropathy. Plasma creatinine is insensitive for a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) >50 ml/min and creatinine clearance is unwieldy and subject to collection inaccuracies. We aimed to assess the reproducibility, reliability, and accuracy of plasma cystatin C as a measure of GFR ranging from normal to moderate impairment due to type 1 diabetes in the presence of a normal plasma creatinine concentration. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-A sensitive immunoturbidimetric cystatin C assay was examined in 29 subjects with type 1 diabetes and 11 nondiabetic subjects. Duplicate measurements of the following were collected from each subject, 2 weeks apart: cystatin C, enzymatic plasma creatinine, 24-h creatinine clearance, GFR estimated from plasma creatinine by the Cockcroft-Gault equation, and iohexol clearance as a gold standard. RESULTS-Iohexol clearance ranged from 35 to 132 ml. min(-1). 1.73 m(-2). Plasma cystatin C compared well with the other clinically used tests. The reliability of cystatin C, as assessed by the discriminant ratio, was superior to creatinine clearance (3.4 vs. 1.5, P < 0.001) and the correlation of cystatin C with iohexol clearance (Rs -0.80) was similar to that of creatinine clearance (Rs -0.74) and superior to that of plasma creatinine and the Cockcroft-Gault estimate (Rs -0.54 and 0.66, respectively). Duplicate estimations were used to provide an unbiased equation to convert plasma cystatin C to GFR. CONCLUSIONS-Based on this study, cystatin C is a more reliable measure of GFR than creatinine clearance, is more highly correlated with iohexol clearance than plasma creatinine, and is worthy of further investigation as a clinical measure of GFR in type 1 diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Diabetes Care

Publication Date





2004 - 2009


Adult, Biomarkers, Contrast Media, Creatinine, Cystatin C, Cystatins, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1, Female, Glomerular Filtration Rate, Glycated Hemoglobin A, Humans, Iohexol, Male, Metabolic Clearance Rate, Middle Aged, Reference Values, Regression Analysis, Reproducibility of Results