Soluble transferrin receptor, ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor--Ferritin index in assessment of anaemia in rhaeumatoid arthritis.Med J Malaysia. 2007 Oct; 62(4):303-7.MJ
Anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) is a frequent complication of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A diagnostic difficulty in RA is the distinction between iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and ACD. The aim of our study was to evaluate the usefulness of serum soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and sTfR/log ferritin (TfR-F) index to diagnose iron deficiency in RA patients with anaemia. Routine laboratory indices of anaemia and sTfR were measured in 20 healthy persons to form the control group, 30 patients with iron deficiency anaemia and 28 RA patients with anaemia. Serum sTfR levels were significantly elevated above the cut-off value in patients with IDA and those in the iron depleted RA subgroup (ferritin < 60 microg/L) compared with those in the control and iron repleted RA subgroup (ferritin > 60 microg/L). The same was observed for TfR-F index. However, five patients in the iron repleted RA sub group had an elevated sTfR level, of which two had increased TfR-F index. Serum sTfR correlated well with the markers of anaemia and not with ESR. Ferritin had no correlation with markers of anaemia but correlated well with ESR. Measurement of sTfR and TfR-F index are good indicators of iron deficiency in RA patients with anaemia. To be cost effective, sTfR can be estimated in RA patients with anaemia when the ferritin level is more than 60 microg/L.