Preferred Sample Type


Suitable Specimen Types

  • Serum
1 ml whole blood

Sample Processing in Laboratory


Sample Preparation

Centrifuge specimen

Turnaround Time

1 week

Sample Stability

Store specimens at 4ºC. If samples are not assayed within 72 hours, store at -20ºC until analysis can be performed.


General Information

Haptoglobin (frequently abbreviated as Hp) is a protein in the blood plasma that binds free hemoglobin released from erythrocytes with high affinity and thereby inhibits its oxidative activity. The haptoglobin-hemoglobin complex will then be removed by the reticuloendothelial system (mostly the spleen). For this reason, haptoglobin levels will be decreased in haemolytic anaemias. Causes of haemolysis include transfusion reactions, certain drugs, and/or mechanical breakage, such as may be seen with some artificial heart valves. The destruction may be mild or severe, acute or chronic, and it can lead to haemolytic anaemia. Hp also , prevents bacteria from using the iron present in hemoglobin to grow, regulates the activity of many cell types of the immune system, and is an extracellular chaperone. It is produced mostly by hepatocytes but also by other tissues: e.g. skin, lung, and kidney. Liver disease may also result in low haptoglobin levels as liver damage may reduce both the production of haptoglobin and the removal of the haptoglobin-haemoglobin complexes. Hp in its simplest form cosists of two ?- and two ?-chains, connected by disulfide bridges. The chains originate from a common precursor protein which is proteolytically cleaved during protein synthesis. Hp exists in two allelic forms in the human population, so called Hp1 and Hp2; the latter one having arisen due to the partial duplication of Hp1 gene. Three phenotypes of Hp, therefore are found in humans: Hp1-1, Hp2-1, and Hp2-2. Hp of different phenotypes have been shown to bind hemoglobin with different affinities, with Hp2-2 being the weakest binder.

Patient Preparation



No signifcant interference from icterus, haemolysis or lipaemia.

Please note, EDTA samples are not suitable for haptoglobin analysis.

Reference Range

  Male (g/L) Female (g/L)
0 - 1 year old    0.00 - 3.00  0.00 - 2.35
2 - 12 years old   0.03 - 2.70  0.11 - 2.20 
13 - 60 years old   0.14 - 2.58   0.35 - 2.50 
>60 years old   0.40 - 2.68 0.63 - 2.73 


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes
  • EQA Status: NEQAS

The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235