Purpose of the test
Cobalt is an essential element, as a component of cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12). It is also used industrially in the manufacture of high-strength alloys used for cutting/drilling tools, in the semi-conductor industry and as a pigment. Dicobalt Edentate is used in the treatment of cyanide poisoning.
Analysis of cobalt concentration is of little use in the determination of vitamin B12 deficiency, but is useful to assess occupational and environmental cobalt exposure. Chronic exposure to inorganic cobalt salts, either by ingestion or inhalation of dust, causes respiratory distress, dyspnoea, pneumonconiosis, or can lead to cardiomyopathy. Inorganic cobalt can induce haemoglobin synthesis, as well as hypertriglyceridaemia and hypercholestrolaemia.
Cobalt is quickly cleared through the kidneys, and urine cobalt measurements are a useful indicator of recent exposure.
Serum/plasma: <1.7-6.8 nmol/L
Blood: <10 nmol/L
Urine (24h): <22 nmol/L
Random urine: <1.6 nmol/mmol creatinine
N.B. Concentrations increase with occupational exposure, throughout the working day/week, but tend to normalise within 2-3d of exposure ceasing.
Serum/plasma (500 µL)(anticoagulant-free, heparin)
Blood (1mL) (EDTA, heparin)
Urine: random (20 mL) or 24h collection (acid-washed container)
Storage and Transport
Stable at 4°C for at least two days. Send by overnight first class post.
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Dr Kishor Raja
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