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Making Sense of Transferrin Tests

Making Sense of Transferrin Tests

In his article, "Anemia: A Strategy for the Workup" (CONSULTANT, June 2002, page 869), Dr James Bergin makes several references to a test that measures the "serum transferrin receptor level." Is this the same test as that which is commonly referred to as a "transferrin level" test?
-- David Myers, BSMT
    Coordinator of Medical Laboratory Services
    St Louis County Department of Health, Mo
Transferrin usually refers to the plasma iron-binding protein that carries the iron in the circulatory system to cells. It is measured by the amount of iron it will bind; namely, the plasma iron concentration and the total iron-binding capacity. The serum transferrin receptor is the transmembrane protein that facilitates the entry of transferrin-bound iron into cells. It is measured using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) procedure and a monoclonal antibody. A number of companies offer this test.
-- James Bergin, MD
    Professor of Medicine, Emeritus
    University of Kansas Medical Center
    Kansas City

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