Multiple single-center studies have examined the progression of kidney function biomarkers such as serum cystatin C (Cys C) in the first 30 days of life (DOL) after preterm birth, but from different ethnicities and in different gestational ages (GA), without a functional summary available. We performed a systematic literature review within PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus, with additional use of the snowballing method to find studies including data on serum Cys C concentrations in the first 30 DOL. We identified 15 papers that met criteria, published from 2000 to 2019, from 10 countries across 4 continents, in 1468 babies born preterm. Cys C was superior to creatinine in 11/13 studies, and equal in 2/13. For infants born at 24–28 weeks GA, the DOL1 Cys C concentrations ranged from 1.44 to 1.90 mg/L, from 1.20 to 1.77 on DOL3, and from 1.36 to 2.02 between DOL 4 and 30. For infants born at 29–33 weeks GA, the DOL1 Cys C values ranged from 1.41 to 1.96 mg/L, from 1.28 to 1.70 on DOL3, and 1.51 to 1.87 between DOL 4 and 30. For preterm infants born after 34 weeks GA, the DOL1 Cys C values ranged from 1.22 to 1.96 mg/L, from 1.24 to 1.85 on DOL3, and 1.22 to 1.82 between DOL 4 and 30. This systematic review provides generalizable worldwide reference data on Cys C that could be used to estimate progression or resolution of abnormal kidney function in the first months after preterm birth, stratified by GA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1709-1718
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Cys C
  • Cystatin C
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
  • Preterm
  • Very-low-birth-weight (VLBW)


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