The diagnosis of iron deficiency by erythrocyte protoporphyrin and serum ferritin analyses.Acta Paediatr Scand. 1978 May; 67(3):361-6.AP
Free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (FEP) and serum ferritin have been determined in 57 healthy children and in 25 children with varying degrees of iron deficiency. FEP was found to be inversely correlated to the concentration of hemoglobin (r = -0.80) as well as to serum ferritin (r=-0.64). Elevated FEP was found in children with hemoglobin less than 12.5 g/dl, or serum ferritin less than 8 microgram/l. In a group of apparently hematologically normal children between the age of 10--14 years (hemoglobin greater than 12.5 g/dl), a 2-month-trial of iron medication resulted in an increase in hemoglobin and ferritin, and a decrease in FEP, indicating suboptimal supply of iron for hemoglobin synthesis before iron medication. In a patient with iron deficiency (FEP 15.3 mumole/l, hemoglobin 5.2 g/dl), iron therapy was followed by a rapid fall in FEP before any changes in hemoglobin, serum iron transferrin saturation and ferritin could be detected. The rapid fall in FEP during start of treatment in iron deficiency makes FEP a sensitive biochemical parameter on iron homeostasis in iron deficiency anemia.