• haemochromatosis;
  • ceruloplasmin;
  • iron;
  • copper;
  • ferroxidase

As ceruloplasmin (Cp) seems to be involved in iron mobilization, serum Cp levels were measured in 35 patients with hereditary haemochromatosis (HH), 12 with acquired iron overload (AIO) and 36 healthy subjects. Cp was lower in HH patients than in controls (P < 0·001); no difference was found between untreated HH patients and those on a phlebotomy programme (P = 0·07) and between the HH patients carrying the normal and the mutated alleles of the HFE gene (P = 0·8). Cp levels in AIO subjects were significantly higher than in HH patients (P < 0·004) and similar to those of controls (P = 0·2). No differences in albumin, α1 acid glycoprotein and copper serum levels were observed in the three groups.