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Iron: Metabolism and laboratory tests

Iron: Metabolism and laboratory tests

Australian Journal of Medical Science 19(4): 108-122

Iron is the most important metal in the body. During evolution oxygen and iron formed a partnership and as a result, both became essential for life. Both are capable of causing lethal tissue damage when present in excess as free radicals. To prevent tissue damage, iron became enveloped in a variety of proteins. It is the measurement of these proteins and their iron content which constitutes the most significant laboratory tests for iron and the status of iron metabolism. As each new generation of technological advances have appeared, so new tests have become available. Serum iron assays were developed in the 1920's, iron saturation in the 1940's, serum transferrin and ferritin in the 1970's and in the 1990's assays for serum erythropoietin and serum transferrin receptors have become commercially available. Iron regulatory proteins currently being characterised in cell culture research will enable us to measure iron regulation at a molecular level. This review discusses topics relevant to iron including iron chemistry, laboratory tests, iron deficiency, iron overload and a variety of current and novel therapeutic approaches to patients with disorders related to iron metabolism.

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Accession: 010885576

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