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Am J Clin Nutr. 1994 Oct;60(4):603-9.

Assessment of iron status of Zairean women of childbearing age by serum transferrin receptor.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112.


Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), previously shown to be a sensitive indicator of tissue iron deficiency, was used to assess iron status of 104 Zairean women (69 lactating, 19 pregnant, and 16 nonpregnant, nonlactating women). Thirteen iron-sufficient female laboratory employees were also studied. Mean sTfR concentrations were higher in pregnant women (9.90 mg/L) than in lactating women (8.55 mg/L), nonlactating women (7.74 mg/L), and laboratory employees (5.11 mg/L) (P < 0.005). Mean serum ferritin and transferrin saturation were lower in pregnant than nonpregnant women. sTfR negatively correlated with hemoglobin (P < 0.05) and transferrin saturation (P < 0.05), and nonsignificantly with ferritin and transferrin. With 7.26 mg sTfR/L (the upper limit of laboratory employees) as the cutoff value, sTfR identified 67% of women with tissue iron deficiency compared with 11.5-57% for transferrin saturation, hemoglobin, or ferritin. Despite the moderate sensitivity (68.5%), 90% of women with sTfR > 7.26 mg/L also had another index below normal and 54% had serum ferritin < or = 50 micrograms/L.

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