Vitamin E - plasma or serum

Last updated: Wednesday, 31, March, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in lithium heparin or plain tube.

Method

HPLC. A functional assay using measurement of peroxide-induced haemolysis is performed by some laboratories.

Reference Interval

Varies somewhat with diet.

Child: 7-35 µmol/L

Adult: 11-46 µmol/L.

Application

Investigation of haemolysis in infants (especially premature); monitoring of children with severe, chronic fat malabsorption (especially chronic cholestasis) in whom a progressive cerebellar and sensory dysfunction may develop.

An ataxic syndrome is also present in the autosomal recessive disease tocopherol transfer protein deficiency, which is associated with low levels of plasma vitamin E. Also low in hypobetalipoproteinaemia.

A role in the investigation of atherosclerosis in individual patients has not been established.

Interpretation

Low levels indicate deficiency, however, vitamin E is carried in plasma lipoproteins, and hyperlipidaemia may disguise an underlying deficiency, especially in patients with cholestasis.

Reference

Jha P et al. Ann Int Med 1995; 123: 860-872.