Reference values of serum transferrin receptor and sTfR/log ferritin index in healthy adolescents

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2015 May;37(4):274-80. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000000274.


Adolescence is a period of increased iron requirements, which impact on iron status. The purpose of this research is to determine the reference intervals for serum transferrin receptor (sTfR) and sTfR/log ferritin index (sTfR-F index) in healthy adolescents, and their relation with iron parameters and erythropoiesis. A total of 253 healthy adolescents without overweight, aged 12 to 16 years, were selected in a cross-sectional study. Hemoglobin, red cell indices, reticulocyte hemoglobin content (rHb), reticulocytes, ferritin, transferrin saturation, erythrocyte protoporphirin, erythropoietin, C-reactive protein, sTfR, and sTfR-F index were measured. Changes in erythropoiesis and iron status in the age interval were observed and analyzed, and linear multiple regression was applied to identify the factors that determine the variability of sTfR and sTfR-F index. Mean values for sTfR and sTfR-F index were 1.32 ± 0.3 mg/L (95% CI, 1.3-1.36) and 0.9 ± 0.25 (95% CI, 0.87-0.93). The reference intervals were 0.84 to 1.97 mg/L and 0.51 to 1.44, respectively. sTfR and sTfR-F index values were significantly higher in boys (1.39 ± 0.3 vs. 1.23 ± 0.26 mg/L, P<0.0001 and 0.93 ± 0.37 vs. 0.86 ± 0.22, P<0.04) and decreased with age (P<0.0001 and 0.04, respectively). No changes were recorded in erythropoietin. Age, sex, pubertal status, and ferritin predicted 24.1% of sTfR variability and age, sex, pubertal status, transferrin saturation, rHb, erythrocytes, and reticulocytes predicted 15% of sTfR-F index variability.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Erythropoietin / blood
  • Female
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Receptors, Transferrin / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Erythropoietin
  • Ferritins