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Acute phase protein (Acute Phase Reactants)



  1. The patient blood is needed to prepare serum.
  2. Try to perform the analysis on the fresh sample. 
  3. Can store at 4 °C for <72 hours.
  4. When stored at -20 °C, is stable for 6 months.


  1. Avoid hemolysis because the RBC contains iron.
  2. Avoid lipemic serum.


  1. Differential diagnosis of anemia.
  2. Monitoring of treatment of iron deficiency anemia.


  1. This is a major beta-globulin (glycoprotein). This is an iron-carrying protein.
    1. This is also called as siderophilin.

  1. The transferrin transport the Ferric ion (Fe+++) and normally there is 20 to 30% saturation and it increases in the iron deficiency anemia.
    1. One molecule of transferrin binds two ions of iron.
    2. Ferrous ions bind more rapidly than ferric ions.
    3. It changes in color from colorless to pink.

  1. The liver synthesizes the transferrin and this will binds the iron.

  1. This is synthesized in the liver and depends on its demands in anemia.

  1. This is decreased in acute inflammation and raised in a chronic condition.
    1. This act as an acute phase protein.
  2. Transferrin can be lost in the urine because of its small molecular size.
    1. More loss in severe proteinuria.
  3. CSF also contains a small amount of transferrin.
    1. Its function in the CSF is not known.
    2. This can be used as a marker in case of CSF leakage.
  4. RBC has a receptor for the transferrin. These receptors also present in the lymphocytes.

  1. Transferrin level helps:
    1. In the case of iron deficiency anemia where transferrin level is increased.
    2. There is a low level of transferrin in the case of malignancy and inflammation.
  2. Functions of Transferrin:
    1. This transport iron.
    2. It regulates the absorption of iron.
    3. It protects against toxic effects of iron.
    4. Its high level relates to the ability of the body to fight against the infection.
  3. Transferrin saturation is a better index of iron saturation.
    1. Transferrin saturation % = serum iron x 100 / TIBC


Transferrin level is increased in:

  1. Iron deficiency anemia.
  2. In pregnancy.
  3. Use of oral contraceptives or estrogen therapy.

Transferrin level is decreased in:

  1. In protein malnutrition.
  2. In protein loss from burns.
  3. In iron overload diseases (hemochromatosis).
  4. In acute and chronic diseases.
  5. Acute liver diseases.
  6. Renal diseases like nephrosis.
  7. The absence of the transferrin is seen in the genetic disorder called Atransferrinemia.
    1. It is characterized by anemia and hemosiderosis.
    2. Hemosiderosis is seen in the liver and heart.

Value for the layman:


Possible References Used

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