Measurement of near-normal concentrations of erythrocyte protoporphyrin with the hematofluorometer: Influence of plasma on 'front-surface illumination' assay

R. B. Schifman, P. R. Finley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Zinc protoporphyrin in erythrocytes increases in iron depletion. Because the hematofluorometer directly measures zinc protoporphyrin in whole blood, it may therefore be a useful screening instrument for detecting iron deficiency. We evaluated its performance with normal to slightly above-normal zinc protoporphyrin concentrations (0.2 to 2.0 mg/L) in erythrocytes, because this is a critical range for differentiating normal and iron-deficient individuals. There was excellent correlation (r2 = 0.900) between erythrocyte protoporphyrin as measured by an extraction procedure and as measured directly with the hematofluorometer. However, at these concentrations, plasma caused hematofluorometer readings to be spuriously high, by 2.4 to 89.4%, an effect due to the instrument's optical design. The effect can be eliminated by washing the cells free of plasma or by allowing erythrocytes to displace plasma by settling to the illuminated surface before the measurement. The interference does not affect the hematofluorometer's sensitivity, but abnormal results obtained for whole blood should be confirmed with more-specific tests, and interlaboratory precision may be influenced if whole-blood samples are used. A 1-min delay from sample placement to measurement decreased zinc protoporphyrin by 2.6 to 36.9%. We also describe the use of cryopreserved control erythrocytes, for which the CV is 2.3% for a concentration of 0.96 mg per liter of erythrocytes, which are not affected by time of measurement, and which are stable for three months.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-156
Number of pages4
JournalClinical chemistry
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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