The reliable measurement of non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) in serum has proved to be difficult and generally time consuming. We have sought a simple and fast method for such a determination. We adopted a fluorescence assay and designed a fluorescent dye with a chelating agent attached to sense iron. To avoid autofluorescence from serum samples, the iron probes were linked to beads and the autofluorescence could be separated and excluded from the measurement by flow cytometry due to the size difference between beads and serum proteins. Fluorescent beads containing both fluorescent and chelating moieties have been synthesized. The nature of the chelating function has been systematically investigated using four different chelators: bidentate hydroxypyranone, bidentate hydroxypyridinone, hexadentate hydroxypyranone and hexadentate hydroxypyridinone, each with different iron affinity constants. Competition studies demonstrate that the hexadentate hydroxypyridinone-based beads are capable of scavenging most of low molecular mass and albumin-bound iron but negligible amounts of iron from transferrin and ferritin. Serum samples from 30 patients with different types of disease and normal volunteers were measured. The concentrations of NTBI fall in the range −0.41 to +6.5 μM. The data have been compared with those obtained from the traditional ‘NTA’ method.
- flow cytometry
- iron chelator
- iron-overloaded serum
- non-transferrin-bound iron
Abbreviations: CFB, chelatable fluorescent beads; DCC, dicyclohexylcarbodiimide; DFO, deferoxamine; DFP, deferiprone; DFX, deferasirox; DMF, dimethylformamide; H-CFB, hexadentate pyridinone-based chelatable fluorescent beads; HH, haemochromatosis; ICP, inductively coupled plasma; LPI, labile plasma iron; NHS, N-hydroxysuccinimide; NTA, nitriotriacetic acid; NTBI, non-transferrin-bound iron
- © The Authors Journal compilation © 2014 Biochemical Society