What is liver iron concentration (LIC)?

By William Aird

Measurement of iron content in liver used as reference point for estimating total body iron stores. May be quantified using:

  • Liver biopsy with direct histological visualization; iron deposition:
    • Is typically evaluated on a semi-quantitative scale based on Prussian Blue staining of iron granules.
    • May be more accurately quantified using atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging – widely available, noninvasive procedure for estimation of LIC
    • Spin-echo technique
    • Gradient echo technique

Iron in the liver cannot be quantitated using ultrasound or CT scan.

Normal LIC = 0.17-1.8 mg iron/g dry weight.