Soluble transferrin receptor - plasma or serum

Last updated: Saturday, 27, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in a lithium heparin or plain tube.

Method

Immunoassay.

Reference Interval

Varies with method, age, gender, and pregnancy.

Application

Diagnosis of iron deficiency, especially in the presence of inflammation.

Interpretation

Membrane-bound transferrin receptor is released externally during endocytosis.
Soluble transferrin receptor levels in plasma are elevated if there is increased iron demand due to iron deficiency, increased erythropoiesis (eg, haemolysis) or dyserythropoiesis (eg, megaloblastic anaemia), regardless of other, coexistent states.
Thus, it can be used to demonstrate iron deficiency in patients who also have an Acute phase response and it can distinguish Iron deficiency from the Anaemia of chronic disease.
Patients with an acute phase response have reduced plasma iron and transferrin with elevation of ferritin, making these usual indicators unreliable.

Reference

Feelders RA et al. Clin Chem Lab Med 1999; 37: 1-10.

Cook JD. Am J Med Sci 1999; 318: 269-276.