Beta-2 transferrin

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Beta-2 transferrin is a carbohydrate-free (desialated) isoform of transferrin, which is almost exclusively found in the cerebrospinal fluid. It is not found in blood, mucus or tears, thus making it a specific marker of cerebrospinal fluid, applied as an assay in cases where cerebrospinal fluid leakage is suspected.[1]

Beta-2 transferrin would also be positive in patients with perilymph fluid leaks, as it is also present in inner ear perilymph. Thus, beta-2 transferrin in otorrhea would be suggestive of either a CSF leak or a perilymph leak.[2]


  1. ^ Chan D, Poon W, IP C, Chiu P, Goh K (2004). "How useful is glucose detection in diagnosing cerebrospinal fluid leak? The rational use of CT and Beta-2 transferrin assay in detection of cerebrospinal fluid fistula". Asian Journal of Surgery. 27 (1): 39–42. PMID 14719513. doi:10.1016/S1015-9584(09)60242-6. 
  2. ^ Skedros DG, Cass SP, Hirsch BE, Kelly RH (Oct 1993). "Beta-2 transferrin assay in clinical management of cerebral spinal fluid and perilymphatic fluid leaks". J Otolaryngol. 22 (5): 341–4. PMID 8283502.