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Transfus Sci. 2000 Dec;23(3):185-92.

The importance of non-transferrin bound iron in disorders of iron metabolism.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Institute of Life Sciences, Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91904, Israel.


The concept of non-transferrin bound iron (NTBI) was introduced 22 years ago by Hershko et al. (Brit. J. Haematol. 40 (1978) 255). It stemmed from a suspicion that, in iron overloaded patients, the large amounts of excess iron released into the circulation are likely to exceed the serum transferrin (Tf) iron-binding capacity (TIBC), leading to the appearance of various forms of iron not bound to Tf. In accordance with this assumption, NTBI was initially looked for and detected in patients with > or = 100% Tf-saturation. As techniques for its detection became more sophisticated and sensitive, NTBI was also found in conditions where Tf was not fully saturated, leading to a revision of the original view of NTBI as a simple spillover phenomenon. In this review, we will discuss some of the properties of NTBI, methods for its detection, its significance and potential value as an indicator for therapeutic regimens of iron chelation and supplementation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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