Monitoring of transferrin isoforms in biological samples by capillary electrophoresis

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Oct 10, 2017
  • Author: Jitka Caslavska, Wolfgang Thormann
  • Journal: Journal of Separation Science


Work dealing with the monitoring of transferrin isoforms in human serum and other body fluids by capillary electrophoresis is reviewed. It comprises capillary zone electrophoresis and capillary isoelectric focusing efforts that led to the exploration and use of assays for the determination of carbohydrate‐deficient transferrin as a marker for excessive alcohol intake, genetic variants of transferrin, congenital disorders of glycosylation and β‐2‐transferrin, which is a marker for cerebrospinal fluid leakage. This paper provides insight into the development, specifications, strengths, weaknesses, and routine use of the currently known capillary electrophoresis based assays suitable to detect transferrin isoforms in body fluids. The achievements reached so far indicate that capillary zone electrophoresis is an attractive technology to monitor the molecular forms of transferrin in biological specimens as the assays do not require an elaborate sample pretreatment and thus can be fully automated for high‐throughput analyses on multicapillary instruments. Assays based on capillary isoelectric focusing are less attractive. They require immunoextraction of transferrin from the biological matrix and mobilization after focusing if instrumentation with a whole‐column imaging detector is not available. Interactions of the carrier ampholytes with the iron of transferrin may prevent iron saturation and thus provide more complicated isoform patterns.

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