Can proteins in blood predict early death?

Last Updated: Dec 16, 2011, 12:36 PM IST

Washington: Levels of two blood components - cystatin C and beta trace protein - are newly proposed markers that may be better predictors of an individuals` future health.

The condition of kidneys could tell whether there is a likelihood of premature death after its functioning is impaired. Kidney function is most accurately represented by the kidneys` filtration rate, but this is difficult to measure. Therefore, blood levels of a protein called creatinine are commonly used to assess kidney function.

But now it`s thought that cystatin C and beta trace protein may go beyond indicating kidney health to include other aspects of an individual`s wellbeing, the Journal of the American Society Nephrology reports.

Mark Sarnak and Navdeep Tangri from Tufts University Medical Centre and colleagues analysed data from the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study, which provided levels of these markers for 816 kidney disease patients who were then followed for 16.6 years.

The researchers found that, independent of the kidneys` filtration rate, participants with higher creatinine had a higher risk of developing kidney failure, but a lower risk of dying.

Those with higher cystatin C and beta trace protein had a higher risk of both kidney failure and death, according to a Tufts statement.

These results suggest that creatinine, beta trace protein and cystatin C may be predictive of aspects of health that go beyond the kidneys. Beta trace protein and cystatin C appear to provide more consistent prognostic information than creatinine.