Blood Protein Electrophoresis

Understanding and Interpreting the Serum Protein Electrophoresis - Article

ABSTRACT: Serum protein electrophoresis is used to identify patients with multiple myeloma and other serum protein disorders. Electrophoresis separates proteins based on their physical properties, and the subsets of these proteins are used in interpreting the results. Plasma protein levels display reasonably predictable changes in response to acute inflammation, malignancy, trauma, necrosis, infarction, burns, and chemical injury. A homogeneous spike-like peak in a focal region of the gamma-globulin zone indicates a monoclonal gammopathy. Monoclonal gammopathies are associated with a clonal process that is malignant or potentially malignant, including multiple myeloma, Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, solitary plasmacytoma, smoldering multiple myeloma, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, plasma cell leukemia, heavy chain disease, and amyloidosis. The quantity of M protein, the results of bone marrow biopsy, and other characteristics can help differentiate multiple myeloma from the other causes of monoclonal gammopathy. In contrast, polyclonal gammopathies may be caused by any reactive or inflammatory process.

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