Beta Trace Protein (BTP) is a promising marker of glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Equations to estimate GFR using BTP have been proposed. Very little is known about BTP’s production and metabolism. It has been hypothesized that the liver metabolizes certain BTP isoforms. As such, hepatic dysfunction may influence serum levels independently of GFR. This would impact on the accuracy and precision of GFR estimates using BTP. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of cirrhosis on serum BTP concentrations.
BTP, cystatin C (cysC) and creatinine (Cr) were measured in 99 cirrhotic subjects and in matched controls. BTP/cysC and Cr/cysC ratios were compared between cases and controls. This was repeated after stratification by Child Pugh category. Comparisons of ratios between Child Pugh category A and combined B and C case subjects were also performed.
There were no differences in BTP/cysC ratios between cases and controls for the entire cohort (0.80 vs 0.79) or for any of the Child Pugh categories (p > 0.10). There were significant differences between cases (1.09) and controls (0.73) for the BTP/Cr ratios (p < 0.001). The BTP/Cr ratio was higher in those with more advanced cirrhosis as compared to those with less severe cirrhosis (1.20 vs 1.03, p < 0.01). There were no differences in BTP/cysC ratios between those with less severe and more advanced cirrhosis (p = 0.25).
This study suggests that hepatic dysfunction does not influence serum BTP levels and argues against a significant role for the liver in BTP metabolism. Confirmation in a larger group of patients with advanced cirrhosis is required.