The transferrin index (TI) can be used to screen a patient for iron overload.


NOTE: A transferrin index is also described for carbohydrate deficient transferrin associated with ethanol abuse (see above).


transferrin index =

= (serum iron in µmol/L) / (serum transferrin in µmol/L)



• A transferrin index > 1.0 indicates increased iron stores as seen in hemochromatosis.


Benefits over transferrin saturation (iron divided by TIBC):

(1) The precision of the transferrin assay is better than that of TIBC.

(2) High ferritin levels may be associated with interference in the TIBC assay.


Molecular weight for transferrin: There seems to be several different values used.

(1) Tietz uses 89,000 daltons (Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, Third Edition)

(2) The Sigma catalogue gives a range of 76,000 – 81,000.

(3) Beilby et al encountered a range from 76,500 to 99,000, with 76,500 and 88,000 as the most commonly used by laboratories. He used 79,570 based on MacGillivray et al, J Biol Chem, 1983; 258: 3543-3553.

Molecular Weight

1 mg/dL converts to


0.1307 µmol/L


0.12567 µmol/L


0.1234567 µmol/L


0.1136 µmol/L


0.1124 µmol/L


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