serum electrophoresis ( separation of protein components, immunodiffusion )

Last reviewed 08/2021

Serum electrophoresis is used in the diagnosis of specific diseases:

  • multiple myeloma
  • Waldenstrom's macroglobulinaemia
  • other serum protein gammopathies
  • hypogammaglobulinaemia e.g. agammaglobulinaemia,
  • bisalbuminaemia
  • afibrinogenaemia
  • atransferrinaemia
  • Wilson's disease

Monoclonal gammopathies:

  • IgG gammopathy is the most common (60% of patients) with or without Bence Jones proteins
  • IgA gammopathy (16% of patients approx.)
  • IgM gammopathy (15% of patients approx.)
  • Bence Jones gammopathy (light-chain disease) (9% of patients approx.)
  • IgE and IgD gammopathy are very rare

Note that only about 2/3 of patients with monoclonal gammopathy are symptomatic (IgG, IgA,IgD, and Bence Jones gammopathies are associated with classic picture of multiple myeloma (increased M protein (monoclonal) > 3g/dl and increased number of plasma cells in marrow > 25%)). IgM gammopathy is associated with macroglobulinaemia.