Cystatin C and the Risk of Frailty and Mortality in Older Men

Allyson Hart, Terri L. Blackwell, Misti L. Paudel, Brent C. Taylor, Eric S. Orwoll, Peggy M. Cawthon, Kristine E. Ensrud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: This study examines the association between cystatin C (cysC) levels and risks of progression of frailty status or death in older men. Methods: Prospective study of 2,613 men without overt frailty aged 67 years and older enrolled in the MrOS ancillary sleep study. Baseline measurements included serum cysC, serum creatinine, and frailty status. Repeat frailty status, performed an average of 3.4 years later, was assessed as an ordinal outcome of robust, intermediate stage (prefrail), frail or dead. Results: Mean age was 75.7 years. Men with higher cysC were older and had a higher comorbidity burden. After adjusting for age, clinical site, and race, higher cysC was associated with nearly twofold greater odds of being classified as intermediate stage versus robust (OR quartile 4 vs 1; 1.82, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.35-2.45), a threefold greater odds of frailty versus robust (OR quartile 4 vs 1; 3.13, 95% CI 2.03-4.82), and a more than fivefold greater odds of death versus robust (OR quartile 4 vs 1; 5.48, 95% CI 2.98-10.08). Results were similar for cysC-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). This relationship was attenuated but persisted after adjusting for additional potential confounders including baseline frailty status, body mass index, smoking status, comorbidity burden, self-reported disability, and serum albumin. In contrast, neither serum creatinine nor creatinine-based eGFR was associated in a graded manner with higher risks of development of frailty or death. Conclusions: In this cohort of older men without overt frailty, higher cysC and cysC-based eGFR, but not creatinine or creatinine-based estimates of GFR, were associated with increased risks of frailty or death. These findings suggest that higher cysC level may be a promising biomarker for unsuccessful aging as manifested by increased risks of frailty and death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-970
Number of pages6
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Creatinine
  • Cystatin C
  • Frailty
  • Men
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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