The amounts of phosphorus and iron in various isolated ferritin preparations were investigated by: (i) chemical analysis on ferritin samples and (ii) electron probe X-ray microanalysis on ferritin particles from the same preparations. A high correlation was found between iron to phosphorus ratios obtained by both methods.
Further investigation by electron probe X-ray microanalysis on lysosomes of hepatic cells of patients with idiopathic and secondary hemochromatosis revealed lysosomal iron to phosphorus ratios which were very similar in all parenchymal cells but different from ratios obtained in Kupffer cells. Lysosomal iron to phosphorus ratios in hepatocytes did not change after intensive phlebotomy treatment. It is postulated therefore that, during phlebotomy, iron and phosphorus are concomitantly lost from the hepatic lysosomes.