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Test Identifier Information

Registration CodeBTRF

Specimens are electrophoresed using a high resolution 1% agarose gel, followed by immunofixation with antiserum to human transferrin.


Diagnostic Use / Indications

The diagnosis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea or otorrhea (leakage of CSF into the nose or ear canal, usually as a result of head trauma, tumor, congenital malformation, or surgery) is often difficult to confirm. Traditional chemical analyses (eg, glucose, protein, specific gravity) are unreliable. Radiographic studies, especially those involving the injection of dyes or radiographic compounds, are costly and may introduce additional risks to the patient.

Transferrin that migrates in the beta-1 electrophoretic fraction (beta-1 transferrin) is found in most body fluids. Beta-2 transferrin is a CSF-specific variant of transferrin and is used as an endogenous marker of CSF leakage. Beta-2 transferrin is formed by loss of sialic acid due to the presence of neuraminidase in the central nervous system. Beta-2 transferrin has also been called CSF-specific transferrin and tau transferrin.

Prompt diagnosis and localization facilitates appropriate decisions and decreases the risk of meningitis.

External Price$125.49(Exclusive of GST)

Specimen Collection

Specimen Collection Protocols

Specimens should be collected on one occassion and should preferably be larger than 50 uL. Preferably samples should be collected without the use of swabs, especially if the volume of sample is low, or particularly viscous, as the swabs tend to absorb the moisture making the sample difficult to analyse.

Though 50 uL is usually sufficient to perform the test, in some instances the determination of tau-transferrin may be unclear and a repeat sample may be requested.

Patient Specimen50 uL of fluid (nose, ear, wound etc)
Sample Delivery to LabAmbient
Aliquot Transport to CHL Ambient.

CHLabs Laboratory

DepartmentBiochemistry - Protein Laboratory
Contact Details Email Email
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Contact Phone Number(03)3640334 | x80334
Test AvailabilityMonday to Friday, 8am-5pm.
Turnaround Time1-3 days

The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) variant of transferrin is identified by its unique electrophoretic migration. If beta-1 and beta-2 transferrin are detected in drainage fluids, the specimen is presumed to be contaminated with CSF, and are reported as follows:

Tau transferrin DETECTED, consistent with the presence of CSF.

If no beta-2 transferrin is detected, sample is reported as: As tau-transferrin was NOT detected there is no evidence to support the presence of CSF.


Delphic Number Test NumberBTRF

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