06 March, 2011


This post is specially for my esteemed colleague Dr.Deepa from M.V Hospital for Diabetes.

Cystatin C or cystatin 3 (formerly gamma trace, post-gamma-globulin or neuroendocrine basic polypeptide), a protein encoded by the CST3 gene, is mainly used as a biomarker of kidney function. Recently, it has been studied for its role in predicting new-onset or deteriorating cardiovascular disease. It also seems to play a role in brain disorders involving amyloid (a specific type of protein deposition), such as Alzheimer's disease.
In humans, all cells with a nucleus (cell core containing the DNA) produce cystatin C as a chain of 120 amino acids. It is found in virtually all tissues and bodily fluids. It is a potent inhibitor of lysosomal proteinases (enzymes from a special subunit of the cell that break down proteins) and probably one of the most important extracellular inhibitors of cysteine proteases (it prevents the breakdown of proteins outside the cell by a specific type of protein degrading enzymes). Cystatin C belongs to the type 2 cystatin gene family.

Cystatin C was first described as 'gamma-trace' in 1961 as a trace protein together with other ones (such as beta-trace) in the cerebrospinal fluid and in the urine of patients with renal failure. Grubb and Löfberg first reported its amino acid sequence. They noticed it was increased in patients with advanced renal failure. It was first proposed as a measure of glomerular filtration rate by Grubb and coworkers in 1985.

i will be posting more details on Cystatin c assay in my next post...

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