— Ferritin (REF 40-01)
Definition and cause of Anemia
An anemia is defined as reduced concentration of hemoglobulin, decreased hematocrit level or rather reduced concentration of erythrocytes below a certain and known limit.
The anemia can be caused by many factors: disturbances of blood formation, disruption of cell maturation, cell destruction and blood or cell loss.
Most frequently the causes of anemia are deficiencies of minerals or nutrients.
However, in some cases the anemia is based on congenital defects (spherocytosis, sickle cell anemia or thalassemia) or chronic diseases. Among other things, an anemia is characterized by increased susceptibility to infections, paleness of the mucous membranes, reduced productivity or fatigue.
Ferritin as marker of Anemia
After the absorption (two- and trivalent iron) from the dietary inside the intestine, the absorbed iron is transported to the cells by Transferrin.
Ferritin is an intracellular protein that is able to bind and store free iron in complexes because of its molecule structure. The detection of the Ferritin concentration is considered as sensitive marker of iron deficiency. A low level of Ferritin indicates an iron deficiency which is often observed in malnutrition, intestinal diseases, pregnancy, at blood donors or patients undergoing hemodialysis. A high level of Ferritin might show hemochromatosis as well as disorders in absorption and utilization of iron.