Haptoglobin, denoted by Hp, is a glycoprotein. Human body depends on various glycoproteins that are responsible for a number of functions in different parts of the body. Various hormones, enzymes, antigens etc. are the examples of glycoproteins that are active in the body.
Haptoglobin is largely produced by liver cells. However, kidney, lungs and even skin generate this protein.
The major role of Haptoglobin is to combine with the free hemoglobin and, as a result, save the body from the detrimental effects of the oxidative damages caused by the free hemoglobin molecules.
Liver and spleen flush the resultant substance out of the body. However, there may be a number of reasons why the level of Hemoglobin may drop such as liver disorders, spleen disorders or bone marrow disorders.
Such disorders may limit the generation of red blood cells in the blood. As a result, the oxygen distribution is limited. This may lead to a condition called hemolytic anemia. In this intravascular hemolysis, the haptoglobin level is reduced along with the decline in the hemoglobin levels.
In some cases, the hemoglobin levels may be normal according to the reference range, however, the reticulocyte count may be higher than normal range. This indicates towards an extra-vascular hemolysis. This shows that the red blood cells are being destroyed in liver and spleen. Due to the correlation of the test with liver in most of the cases, a liver test is also usually suggested along with the haptoglobin test.
When the symptoms of hemolytic anemia are detected, a test may be conducted for determining the haptoglobin levels in the blood. Such symptoms are pale body and generalized weakness in the body. Other symptoms may include jaundice and darker than normal urine.
In recent times a new research has been conducted which provides for a new method of identifying or determining the Haptoglobin level in the body of the patient.
According to this method, Indium Tin Oxide is put to use which relies on anti-Hp antibodies to detect haptoglobin blood markers. Indium Tin Oxide offers a number of benefits over the previous determination methods. The new tool is disposable.
At the same time, it also comes at a considerably low cost. The first ever sensor to put ITO and anti-Hp together in use, this biosensor relies on anti-Hp, it is highly sensitive. It has a very low detection limit with a linear range of 0.2 fg/mL — 1fg/mL.
Another big benefit of this detection method is that its single frequency impedance technique can be put to use when it comes to determining the association and dissociation relations of bimolecular interactions.
The disposability, low cost, improved range and its high reproducibility and repeatability in this and other methods are the cornerstones of this new technique.
As we are advancing towards a better future, we have to keep up the pace in the healthcare segment too. It is reassuring to see these new advancements in the field of bio-sensing that are paving way for better healthcare possibilities.