Research Article| Volume 76, ISSUE 3, P497-506, September 1970

An evaluation of adsorption methods for measurement of plasma iron-binding capacity

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      An evaluation was made of methods in which the colorimetric total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) or isotopic unsaturated iron-binding capacity (UIBC) is determined after removing the unbound excess of added iron with either an ion exchange resin, light MgCO3, or hemoglobin-coated charcoal. The colorimetric and isotopic assays were compared by performing them simultaneously with light MgCO3; isotopic determinations alone were performed with resin and coated charcoal to compare the efficacy of the 3 adsorbents. The resin method was more variable and less accurate than the other techniques. The presence of hemoglobin, ferritin, or iron dextran did not affect isotopic measurements, but the latter 2 contaminants interfered markedly with colorimetric determinations of plasma iron or TIBC. With all the adsorbents, there were systematic errors due to incomplete removal of unbound iron excess and to adsorption of plasma water with concentration of supernatant protein. Although these errors are of little importance in routine clinical determinations, their evaluation provides a useful monitor for the day-to-day performance of the adsorption techniques. It is concluded that light MgCO3 and coated charcoal are equally valid for determining the iron-binding capacity; however, light MgCO3 is preferable because it is readily available, requires no preparation, and can be used interchangeably in isotopic and colorimetric assays.
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