Transferrin receptors, which are blood proteins, may be elevated in persons with iron deficiency. Transferrin receptor testing is used to measure the level of soluble transferrin receptors, thereby aiding in the evaluation of iron deficiency and in the diagnosis of iron-deficiency anemia.
The reference range of transferrin receptor varies by sex in adults, as follows:
- Men: 2.2-5 mg/L
- Women: 1.9-4.4 mg/L
Reference intervals of transferrin receptors have not been established for pregnant females, children, or recent or frequent blood donors.
The level of soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR
) will be increased
with iron deficiency. If the sTfR level is elevated in someone with anemia, then it is likely that the person has iron deficiency anemia.
If the level is within the normal range
, then it is more likely that the person's anemia is due to another cause, such as chronic disease or inflammation.
sTfR level indicates an increase in iron reserve in a person being treated with iron supplements. A low level of sTfR may be seen with hemochromatosis (a condition associated with iron overload), but the test is not usually used to monitor this condition.