Preferred Sample Type

Red Cell Transketolase

Suitable Specimen Types

  • EDTA Whole Blood
2 mL minimum

Specimen Transport

Send at 4 ºC to Ref Lab. Must inform reference lab prior to dispatch.

Sample Processing in Laboratory

To BHH lab ASAP.

Sample Preparation

Do not centrifuge

Turnaround Time

2-7 days

Sample Stability

Preferably NOT STORED. Should be sent same day. Can be stored overnight at 4 ºC.

Red Cell Transketolase

General Information

Thiamine pyrophosphate is coenzyme to three systems one of which is transketolase: situated within the hexose monophosphate shunt. It mediates transfer of CH2OHC=O between donor and acceptor sugars. This enzyme is important in erythrocyte metabolism and its activity can therefore be used as an index of thiamine nutrition.

Insufficient dietary thiamine leads to partial inactivation of all three enzyme systems which affects the CNS before other tissues and a spectrum of neurological disorders can result including peripheral neuropathy, Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakof’s psychosis.

The transketolase enzyme can be saturated by thiamine (vitamin B1) within 24 hours of vitamin therapy or return to an adequate diet. Therefore, it is desirable for the patient’s blood to be sampled as soon after admission as possible and prior to any intake of food.




Patient Preparation

Inform duty biochemist (Bleep 2506) when test is to be performed. (N.B. must get it to Medical School same day).

Ensure patient has not had any vitamin supplements since this saturates the red cells with thiamine making the test useless.


Collect sample and send to lab immediately otherwise cool sample ON ICE.

Reference Range

Reference lab will provide information.


  • EQA Status: No Scheme available.

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