Click here to return to the LMHS Home Page

 

Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Serum globulin electrophoresis

Globulin electrophoresis

 

This lab test measures the levels of proteins called globulins in the fluid (serum) part of a blood sample.

Other electrophoresis tests that measure proteins in the serum include:

  • Immunoelectrophoresis
  • Immunfixation
  • Protein electrophoresis

How the Test is Performed

 

A blood sample is needed.

At the lab, the technician places the blood sample on special paper and applies an electric current. The proteins move on the paper and form bands that show the amount of each protein.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

You may be asked not to eat to drink (fast) for 4 hours before the test.

Certain medicines may affect the results of this test. Your doctor will tell you if you need to stop taking any medicines. Do not stop any medicine before talking to your doctor.

Medicines that can affect the test results include:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Corticosteroids
  • Phenacemide
  • Salicylates
  • Some kinds of antibiotics
  • Tolbutamide

 

How the Test will Feel

 

When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain. Others feel only a prick or stinging. Afterward, there may be some throbbing or a slight bruise. This soon goes away.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

This test is done to look at globulin proteins in the blood. Identifying the types of globulins can help diagnose certain medical problems.

Globulins are roughly divided into three groups: alpha, beta, and gamma globulins. Gamma globulines include various types of antibodies such as immunoglobulins (Ig) M, G, and A.

Certain diseases are associated with overproduction of immunoglobulins. For example, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia is a cancer of certain white blood cells that is associated with the overproduction IgM antibodies.

 

Normal Results

 

Normal values ranges are:

  • Serum globulin: 2.0 to 3.5 g/dL (grams per deciliter)
  • IgM component: 75 to 300 mg/dL
  • IgG component: 650 to 1850 mg/dL
  • IgA component: 90 to 350 mg/dL

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Some labs use different measurements or test different samples.Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Increased gamma globulin proteins may indicate:

  • Acute infection
  • Bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma
  • Chronic inflammatory disease (for example, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Overactive immune system (hyperimmunization)
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

 

Risks

 

There is very little risk involved with having your blood taken. Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Taking blood from some people may be more difficult than from others.

Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fainting or feeling light headed
  • Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
  • Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)

 

 

References

McPherson R. Specific proteins. In: McPherson RA, Pincus MR. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 19.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Blood test

    Blood test

    illustration

    • Blood test

      Blood test

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Serum globulin electrophoresis

         
         

        Review Date: 2/24/2014

        Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

         
         
         

         

         

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.