Ferritin Assay

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Ferritin Assay

Reagent | Ferritin

The Most Sensitive and Specific Diagnostic Test for Iron Deficiency

Benefits of Ferritin

Exceptional correlation

A correlation coefficient of r=0.99 was displayed when the Randox ferritin assay was compared to commercially available methods.

Limited interference

The Randox ferritin assay has shown to have limited interference from bilirubin, haemoglobin and triglycerides.

Applications available

Applications available detailing instrument-specific settings for the convenient use of the Randox ferritin assay on a variety of clinical chemistry analysers.

Excellent stability

The Randox ferritin assay is stable to expiry when stored at +2oC to +8oC.

Calibrator and controls available

Calibrator and controls available offering a complete testing package.

Ordering Information

Cat NoSize
FN3452R1 1 x 40ml (L)
R2 1 x 20ml
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FN3888R1 3 x 20ml (L)
R2 3 x 11ml
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FN8037 R1 4 x 16.2ml
R2 4 x 10.2ml
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(L) Indicates liquid option

Instrument Specific Applications (ISA’s) are available for a wide range of biochemistry analysers.  Contact us to enquire about your specific analyser.

Diagnostic Uses

  • Physiological Significance
  • Iron Deficiency
  • Still's Disease
  • Sepsis
  • cHL
  • COVID-19

Ferritin is an iron storage protein. It is the primary iron storage mechanism and is critical to iron homeostasis. As an iron store, ferritin has two roles 1.

  1. Provides a reserve of iron, which can be transported for the synthesis of molecules such as cytochromes, haemoglobin and iron-sulphur compounds.
  2. Safe-guards cells, DNA, lipids and proteins from the potential toxic effects of iron.

Ferritin is a vital component of iron homeostasis. It acts as as a ferroxidase, converting Fe(II) to Fe(III) as iron is internalised and sequestered in the ferritin mineral core. Iron is toxic in cellular systems due to its capacity to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) which directly damages cells, DNA, lipids and proteins 1.

Iron deficiency without anaemia is a diagnostic challenge, as it commonly goes unrecognised for a long period of time as the patient is asymptomatic. Ferritin is the most sensitive and specific test used in the diagnosis of iron deficiency, especially when a patient presents with symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia, but their full blood count is normal 2.

Adult onset Still’s Disease (AOSD) is a rare systemic inflammatory disorder characterised by arthritis, fever and a typical skin rash. Elevated ferritin levels have been observed in 89% of patients with AOSD, with five times the normal level observed in over half of patients 3.

Elevated ferritin levels is associated with a poor outcome in patients with sepsis and can be used as a predictive marker of mortality along with current prognostic scores 4. Elevations of both ferritin and CRP during hospitalisation was associated with the highest mortality, followed by elevations of either biomarker alone (fig. 1) 5.

Fig. 1. Risk contingency table for mortality and organ dysfunction based on cut-points for C-reactive protein and ferritin and patients’ maximum value for each biomarker 5
Fig. 1. Risk contingency table for mortality and organ dysfunction based on cut-points for C-reactive protein and ferritin and patients’ maximum value for each biomarker

Data is displayed as n / N (%) for mortality outcomes

*Significant difference in high/intermediate versus low risk quadrants; {<0.001 by Mann-Whitney test PELOD2, Pediatric Logistic Organ Dysfunction Score 2

Ferritin is the most important acute phase reactant in the prediction of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Ferritin correlates with the inflammatory activity of the cHL microenvironment, which could explain its prognostic impact. Elevated ferritin levels are associated with clinical features of aggressive disease and poor prognosis in cHL patients 6.

As an acute phase reactant, ferritin levels increase during inflammation and infection. Several studies have indicated that elevated ferritins levels were confirmed in the majority of hospitalised patients with COVID-19, approximately 60%. In the critically ill COVID-19 patients, extremely elevated ferritin concentrations were recorded, which could be attributed to a cytokine storm and secondary haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (a hyperinflammatory syndrome associated with multiorgan failure) 7.

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Inflammatory Biomarker Series: Antioxidants

So far in our inflammatory biomarker series, we have considered the clinical significance of measuring rheumatoid factor (RF) and C-reactive protein (CRP) to detect inflammation. Inflammation, either chronic or acute, is the body’s immune response to protect against harmful stimuli such as damaged cells, irritants or pathogens and can be present in a range of diseases and conditions.1 Measuring inflammatory biomarkers can assist clinicians in the identification of a particular disease or can provide a marker of treatment response. In this blog, we consider the role of antioxidants and identify relevant biomarkers which may be linked to inflammatory states.

What is an antioxidant?

An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals, which are groups of very reactive molecules that can interrupt important cellular processes. Antioxidants are commonly referenced with regards to food, however antioxidants are also found in the body in the form of enzymes. Their purpose is to protect against the effects of oxidative stress to reduce damage from free radicals.

What is the link between antioxidants and inflammation?

Oxidative stress and the inflammation associated with it are the cause of most human disease. This would suggest that free radicals are implicated in many disease states for example rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, stroke, or cancer. Therefore antioxidants are important to protect against oxidative damage, thus reducing the risk of inflammation. There are a number of antioxidants which play a protective role the body, such as ferritin, superoxide dismutase, transferrin, uric acid and glutathione reductase.


Ferritin is responsible for storing iron and releasing it when required. Ordinarily, ferritin is found inside blood cells with only a small amount circulating in the blood. Ferritin is clinically significant at both high and low levels. Low levels of ferritin can highlight an iron deficiency which causes anaemia. Whereas elevated levels of ferritin can be a result of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, haemochromatosis, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and renal failure.2 As ferritin is an acute phase reactant, levels will be elevated in any inflammatory state within the body.3


Transferrin is a protein that is responsible for binding and transporting iron in the blood. Transferrin acts as a preventative antioxidant as it binds with free iron, removing it from the bloodstream. This is a critical function, as free iron can stimulate the production of harmful free radicals. As transferrin is a negative acute phase protein, lower levels are associated with inflammatory conditions.7

Superoxide Dismutase

Superoxide is a by-product of oxygen metabolism and is one of the most damaging free radicals in the body as it can cause cell damage. Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme which catalyses the breakdown of superoxide into a less damaging oxygen or hydrogen peroxide. Therefore SOD preforms a vital defensive function to reduce oxidative stress.4 Extensive research exists which links oxidative stress to chronic inflammation, which can be a contributing factor to diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.5 Therefore if levels of superoxide dismutase are low, patients are at risk inflammation, for example, SOD levels are significantly less in rheumatoid arthritis patients.6

Glutathione Reductase

Glutathione reductase is found in red blood cells and plays a key role in maintaining cell function and preventing oxidative stress in human cells. Reduced levels of glutathione reductase can contribute to the prevalence of inflammatory states, suggesting that adequate levels of glutathione reductase are essential for optimal function of the immune system. 7, 8

Uric Acid

Uric acid is a waste product produced when the body breaks down chemical compounds called purines. It is a scavenging antioxidant that acts by inactivating free radicals. Elevated levels of uric acid is commonly associated with gout, a type of arthritis which is caused when crystals of sodium urate form inside joints causing rapid and painful inflammation.9 Other research has indicated that elevated levels of uric acid is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Total Antioxidant Status (TAS)

TAS is a measurement of antioxidant function rather than quantity and considers the cumulative effect of all antioxidants present.  The antioxidant defence system has many components, and a deficiency in any of these components can cause a reduction in the overall antioxidant status of an individual.10 Reduction in total antioxidant status has been implicated in several disease states including cancer, CVD, Arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

As demonstrated above, different types of antioxidants can help reduce different types of inflammation.  Antioxidant tests can be requested from any doctor, who may also review dietary intake, investigate any symptoms and advise if testing is required. If antioxidant levels are found to be inadequate, improving them can be easily done through dietary changes, and can help reduce a body’s overall inflammation.


For health professionals

Randox Laboratories offer a range of diagnostic reagents for antioxidant testing to assist in the diagnosis of inflammatory diseases. Randox offer a complete diagnostic package with applications for a range of biochemistry analysers and a selection of kit sizes, controls and calibrators available. Available tests include: Ferritin, Transferrin, Superoxide Dismutase (Ransod), Glutathione Reductase, Uric Acid, and Total Antioxidant Status (TAS).


  1. Nordqvist, C., Inflammation: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Medical News Today, 2015, https://goo.gl/rT4WS9 (accessed 16 January 2017)
  2. Koperdanova, M., Interpreting raised serum ferritin levels, British Medical Journal, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h3692 (accessed 2 February 2017)
  3. Nall, R. Ferritin Level Blood Test, Health Line, 2015, https://goo.gl/XGcW9P (accessed 2 February 2017)
  4. Yasui, K. and Baba, A., Therapeutic potential of superoxide dismutase (SOD) for resolution of inflammation. Inflammation Research. Vol.55, No.9, pp.359-363, 2006, 1007/s00011-006-5195-y (accessed 2 February 2017)
  5. Reuter, S., Gupta, S.C., Chaturvedi, M.M., Aggarwal, B.B., Oxidative stress, inflammation and cancer: How are they linked? Free Radic Biol Med. 2010, 1; 49(11):1603-1616 https://goo.gl/Uez3JZ (accessed 2 February 2017)
  6. Bae SC, Kim SJ, Sung MK., Inadequate antioxidant nutrient intake and altered plasma antioxidant status of rheumatoid arthritis patients. J Am Coll Nutr. 2003 Aug;22(4):311-5
  7. Reynolds, B., Glutathione for inflammatory respsonse, FX Medicine, 2015, Available from: https://goo.gl/2YAv5l (accessed 3 February 2017)
  8. Morris, G., Anderson, G., Dean, O. et al., The glutathione system: a new drug target in neuroimmune disorders. Mol Neurobiol 2014;50(3):1059-1084, Available from: https://goo.gl/PDSgwv (accessed 3 February 2017)
  9. Malaghan Institute, Uric acid – a new look at an old marker of inflammation, Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, 2013, Available from: https://goo.gl/P6NfXP
  10. Li, Y., Browne, R.W., Bonner, M.R., Deng, F., Tian, L., Mu, L., Positive Relationship between Total Antioxidant Status and Chemokines Observed in Adults. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2014, Available from: https://goo.gl/rmj5MB (accessed 9 February 2017)
Inflammatory Biomarker Series: Antioxidants

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