Cystatin C (gamma-trace) was found to be a constitutively secreted protein of isolated human monocytes and mouse peritoneal macrophages, as well as the histiocytic lymphoma cell lines U937, P388D.1, and J774. This proteinase inhibitor is not uniquely secreted by monocytes/macrophages, but was also identified in the conditioned media from several primary cells, including brain cells, and diverse established cell lines. In vitro treatment of resident mouse peritoneal macrophages with either LPS or IFN-gamma caused a downregulation in cystatin C secretion. Elaboration of this protein was also diminished by macrophages that had been stimulated by thioglycollate in vivo, and treatment of these cells with LPS led to further decline. It is suggested that, under some inflammatory conditions, downregulation of cystatin C may contribute to tissue pathology.

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