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Biol Chem. 2003 Feb;384(2):281-7.

Cystatins C, E/M and F in human pleural fluids of patients with neoplastic and inflammatory lung disorders.

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  • 1Thoraxklinik Heidelberg gGmbH, Abteilung für Klinische Chemie und Bakteriologie, Amalienstr. 5, D-69126 Heidelberg, Germany.


Secretory type 2 cystatins, like cystatins C, E/M and F, are thought to be involved in many pathobiological processes, including vascular amyloidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, osteoporosis, viral and bacterial infections, inflammatory disorders and tumour invasion and metastasis. In order to define the levels of cystatins C, E/M, and F in pleural effusions and to investigate whether these cystatins correlate with diagnostic parameters of pleural and lung diseases, we determined their concentrations in 160 pleural effusions. The median concentration of cystatin C in pleural effusions was 1437 microg/l (95.8 nM), ranging between 18-3967 microg/l. Cystatin C did neither correlate with malignant nor with benign diseases. The concentration of cystatin E/M was significantly higher in effusions of primary pleural tumours (mesotheliomas) compared to secondary pleural tumours and benign diseases. Furthermore, there was a significant correlation between the concentration of cystatin E/M of mesotheliomas and the pleural fluid tumour cell count and of cystatin C. The median values of cystatin F were significantly increased in parapneumonic/empyema thoracis pleural effusions and tuberculous pleurisy compared to malignant pleural effusions, respectively. The concentration of cystatin F in benign effusions correlated significantly with diagnostic parameters and inflammation (total protein; lactate dehydrogenase; C-reactive protein). Finally, only in the group of parapneumonic/empyema thotatin F and the neutrophil count. In conclusion, pleural effusions of different origin contain high levels of cystatin C, perhaps constituting the major part of an inhibitor reservoir. The level of cystatin E/M appears to be significantly associated with primary pleural tumours and cystatin F correlates with inflammatory processes of lung disorders.

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