Definition of haptoglobin : any of several forms of an alpha globulin found in blood serum that can combine with free hemoglobin in the plasma and thereby prevent the loss of iron into the urine
Haptoglobin is known as an acute phase reactant. Its level increases during acute conditions such as infection, injury, tissue destruction, some cancers, burns, surgery, or trauma. Its purpose is to remove damaged cells and debris and rescue important material such as iron . Haptoglobin levels can be used to monitor the course of these conditions.
A decrease in the amount of haptoglobin may be a sign that a person has a condition that is causing red blood cells to be destroyed or break apart . When the binding capacity of haptoglobin is exceeded, free hemoglobin level in circulation goes up and may cause tissue damage and organ dysfunction .
The low levels of haptoglobin indicate hemolytic anemia caused by the premature disruption of red blood cells. It may also indicate a reaction to blood transfusion, liver disease or infections. The higher levels of haptoglobin indicate inflammation, trauma, traumatic brain injury, tissue injury, and cancer.