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Order Code CH189
Turnaround Time 24 hours
Test Includes


Specimen Requirements
Specimen Source
Serum, Plasma
Transport Container
(Specimen Container)

SST (Tiger Top)/ Lithium Heparin/ Sodium Heparin/ EDTA

Preferred Specimens
Minimum Volume (uL)
.5 mL
Collection Instructions
(Transport Temperature)
Transport Refrigerated (cold packs)
Specimen Stability
Temperature Period
Room temperature 72 hours
Refrigerated 72 hours
Frozen 6 months
Test Details
Clinical Significance

Transferrin is a β-globulin, synthesized primarily in the liver, which is the principal protein responsible for iron transport. Transferrin transports ferric ions from the iron stores of intracellular or mucosal ferritin to bone marrow where erythrocyte precursors and other cells have transferrin surface receptors. Transferrin is responsible for 50% to 70% of the iron binding capacity of serum. Since other proteins may bind iron, transferrin concentration correlates with, but is not identical to, Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC).

Indications for transferrin quantitation include: screening for nutritional status; differential diagnosis of anemia; and monitoring anemia treatment. Iron deficiency and iron overload are best diagnosed using a combination of iron, transferrin, and ferritin determinations.

Transferrin is considered to belong to a group of proteins, along with albumin, prealbumin, and β-lipoprotein, referred to as negative acute phase reactants (APRs). Negative APRs are found in decreased levels in response to inflammation, necrosis, or malignancy. Decreased levels of transferrin are also associated with conditions involving chronic liver disease, malnutrition, nephrotic syndrome, protein-losing enteropathies, iron overload due to multiple transfusion or hereditary hemochromatosis, and congenital atransferrinemia. Transferrin Index (calculated as serum iron/transferrin) has been suggested as a better screen for iron overload.

Elevated levels of transferrin are associated with iron deficiency anemia where elevated transferrin often precedes the appearance of anemia by days to months. Transferrin levels are also elevated with increased estrogen due to pregnancy, oral contraceptives, etc.

Reference Ranges

1104 – 224 mg/dL (0 Weeks – 9 Weeks)
107 – 324 mg/dL (9 Weeks – 1 Years)
220 – 337 mg/dL (1 Years – 19 Years)

221 – 329 mg/dL (19 Years – No Max Age Limit)

180 – 382 mg/dL (19 Years – No Max Age Limit)