Ferritin for the clinician

Blood Rev. 2009 May;23(3):95-104. doi: 10.1016/j.blre.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Oct 2.


Ferritin, a major iron storage protein, is essential to iron homeostasis and is involved in a wide range of physiologic and pathologic processes. In clinical medicine, ferritin is predominantly utilized as a serum marker of total body iron stores. In cases of iron deficiency and overload, serum ferritin serves a critical role in both diagnosis and management. Elevated serum and tissue ferritin are linked to coronary artery disease, malignancy, and poor outcomes following stem cell transplantation. Ferritin is directly implicated in less common but potentially devastating human diseases including sideroblastic anemias, neurodegenerative disorders, and hemophagocytic syndrome. Additionally, recent research describes novel functions of ferritin independent of iron storage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoferritins / blood
  • Apoferritins / chemistry
  • Apoferritins / metabolism
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Ferritins / chemistry
  • Ferritins / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Iron / blood
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / metabolism*
  • Iron Metabolism Disorders / therapy
  • Kininogens / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Kininogens
  • Ferritins
  • Apoferritins
  • Iron