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Acta bioquímica clínica latinoamericana

versión impresa ISSN 0325-2957


CAILLIAT, María Cristina  y  FINK, Nilda Ester. Laboratory algorithms for the study of iron status. Acta bioquím. clín. latinoam. [online]. 2013, vol.47, n.3. ISSN 0325-2957.

Adequate availability of iron (Fe) is essential for human development and overall health. Iron is a key component of the oxygen-carrying proteins, it has a fundamental role in cellular metabolism, and it is essential for cell growth and differentiation. Inadequate intake of Fe in the diet, chronic or acute inflammatory conditions and many diseases are associated with alterations in the homeostasis of this metal. Strict regulation of Fe metabolism is necessary because free Fe is highly toxic and humans can excrete only small amounts through sweat, skin, and enterocyte loss in normal and pathological processes. The objective of this work is to analyze algorithms for the preliminary assessment of both Fe deficiency and overload, based on different parameters, some simple resolution ones that can be performed in all clinical laboratories. Among them, CBC, Hematimetric Indices, Reticulocytes, serum Fe, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC) will be considered to calculate Transferrin Saturation Index (TfSI) and Ferritin Dosage (Ft), all measurements being part of the "study of iron status." Other markers of less frequent use in our region will also be considered, such as Free Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin (FEP), and Erythropoietin (EPO), among others, that help, from the laboratory in the diagnosis of anemia. In cases of suspected Fe overload, although the diagnosis was confirmed by genetic studies performed as initial study, the patient assessment is reaffirmed through the "study of iron status" and especially serum Fe and TfSI dosage for monitoring treatment underway. In recent decades, important insights on Fe metabolism have yielded more knowledge on other proteins involved in the transport, absorption, recycling and plasmatic Fe balance. Among these, there are serum markers that could be added to the proposed algorithms, which are Transferrin Receptor (TfR) and Hepcidin (Hp). In conclusion, the need to measure more than one analyte of the "iron status" is highlighted in order to establish the diagnosis of Fe deficiency or excess.

Palabras clave : iron; algorithms study; deficiency; overload; transferrin saturation index; ferritin; erythrocyte protoporphyrin; erythropoietin; transferrin receptor; hepcidin.

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