- The major iron storage protein. The blood level of ferritin serves as an indicator of the amount of iron stored in the body. Ferritin has the shape of a hollow sphere that permits the entry of a variable amount of iron for storage (as ferric hydroxide phosphate complexes). Liver and spleen ferritin consists of 24 subunits of 2 kinds, the heavy and the light subunit. The genes that encode the light and heavy chains are on different chromosomes. The light chain genes are in chromosome region 19q13.3-q13.4 while those for the heavy chain are in chromosome region 11q12-q13. Mutations in the ferritin light chain are responsible for a disease called the hyperferritinemia-cataract syndrome characterized by cataracts (opacities in the lens of the eye) and high levels of ferritin in the blood.
* * *An iron-protein complex, containing up to 23% iron, formed by the union of ferric ions with apoferritin; it is found in the intestinal mucosa, spleen, bone marrow, reticulocytes, and liver, and regulates iron storage and transport from the intestinal lumen to plasma.
* * *fer·ri·tin 'fer-ət-ən n a crystalline iron-containing protein that functions in the storage of iron and is found esp. in the liver and spleen compare HEMOSIDERIN
* * *n.an iron-protein complex that is one of the forms in which iron is stored in the tissues.
* * *fer·ri·tin (ferґĭ-tin) the iron-apoferritin complex, one of the chief forms in which iron is stored in the body; it occurs at least in the gastrointestinal mucosa, liver, spleen, bone marrow, and reticuloendothelial cells generally. See also immunoferritin.
Medical dictionary. 2011.