Albumin (via Protein electrophoresis)

Optimal Result: 2.9 - 4.4 g/dL.

Serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) is an easy, inexpensive method of separating proteins based on their net charge, size, and shape. The 2 major types of protein present in the serum are albumin and the globulin proteins.

Albumin is the major protein component of serum and represents the largest peak that lies closest to the positive electrode. Albumin is the first peak on the electrophoretogram and is usually a tall thin peak. The albumin concentration by ELP is usually lower than that from the Modular P.

Globulins make up a much smaller fraction of the total serum protein but represent the primary focus of interpretation of serum protein electrophoresis.

The various proteins in body fluids are subjected to a controlled electric current, fractionating them into a typical pattern of bands or peaks that then can be measured. The proteins are divided into six groups, called prealbumin (rarely detected on serum or urine protein electrophoresis), albumin, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, and gamma. The beta fraction may be further divided into beta 1 and beta 2 subgroups.

Adults/elderly:

Reference ranges are as follows :

Total protein - 6.4-8.3 g/dL or 64-83 g/L (SI units)
Albumin - 3.5-5 g/dL or 35-50 g/L (SI units)
Globulin - 2.3-3.4 g/dL
Alpha-1 globulin - 0.1-0.3 g/dL or 1-3 g/L (SI units)
Alpha-2 globulin - 0.6-1 g/dL or 6-10 g/L (SI units)
Beta globulin - 0.7-1.1 g/dL or 7-11 g/L (SI units)

Various disease states or conditions alter the pattern of proteins in electrophoresis.

Serum Protein Fractions and Conditions Associated with an Increased or Decreased Level:

Serum Protein Fraction

Increased

Decreased

Albumin

Severe dehydration

Malnutrition, cachexia, liver disease, nephrotic syndrome, protein-losing enteropathies, severe burns

Alpha-1

Inflammatory states, pregnancy

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Alpha-2

Inflammatory states, nephrotic syndrome, oral contraceptive use, steroid use, hyperthyroidism

Hemolysis, liver disease

Beta

Hyperlipidemia, iron-deficiency anemia

Hypo-B-lipoproteinemia, malnutrition

Gamma

Polyclonal and Monoclonal Gammopathies

Agammaglobulinemia, hypogammaglobulinemia

What does it mean if your Albumin (via Protein electrophoresis) result is too low?

Serum Protein Fractions and Conditions Associated with a Decreased Level:

Serum Protein Fraction

Decreased

Albumin

Malnutrition, cachexia, liver disease, nephrotic syndrome, protein-losing enteropathies, severe burns

Alpha-1

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

Alpha-2

Hemolysis, liver disease

Beta

Hypo-B-lipoproteinemia, malnutrition

Gamma

Agammaglobulinemia, hypogammaglobulinemia

What does it mean if your Albumin (via Protein electrophoresis) result is too high?

Serum Protein Fractions and Conditions Associated with an Increased Level:

Serum Protein Fraction

Increased

Albumin

Severe dehydration

Alpha-1

Inflammatory states, pregnancy

Alpha-2

Inflammatory states, nephrotic syndrome, oral contraceptive use, steroid use, hyperthyroidism

Beta

Hyperlipidemia, iron-deficiency anemia

Gamma

Polyclonal and Monoclonal Gammopathies

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