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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Lei, Ming / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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Cystatins C, E/M and F in Human Pleural Fluids of Patients with Neoplastic and Inflammatory Lung Disorders

B. Werle / K. Sauckel / C.-M. Nathanson / M. Bjarnadottir / E. Spiess / W. Ebert / M. Abrahamson

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 384, Issue 2, Pages 281–287, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2003.031, June 2005

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Published Online:


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, Alzheimers 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 ug/l (95.8 nM), ranging between 18-3967 ug/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 thoracis was there a significant correlation between cystatin 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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