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.
Globulins comprise a much smaller fraction of the total serum protein but represent the primary focus of interpretation of serum protein electrophoresis.
Interpretation of elevation, decreased, or visual change in different fractions can be used as a diagnostic aid for a variety of different disease states and protein abnormalities, including monoclonal gammopathies (MG).
What are globulins?
Globulins are a group of proteins in your blood. They are made in your liver by your immune system.
Globulins play an important role in:
- liver function,
- blood clotting,
and fighting infection.
There are four main types of globulins. They are called
- alpha 1,
- alpha 2,
- and gamma.
Just as there are different types of globulins, there are different types of globulin tests.
In general, alpha and gamma globulin protein levels increase when there is inflammation in the body.
The beta fraction has two peaks labeled beta1 and beta2. Beta1 is composed mostly of transferrin, and beta2 contains beta-lipoprotein. IgA, IgM, and sometimes IgG, along with complement proteins, also can be identified in the beta fraction.
Haram K, Augensen K, Elsayed S. Serum protein pattern in normal pregnancy with special reference to acute-phase reactants. Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1983 Feb;90(2):139-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1983.tb08898.x. PMID: 6600623.
Decreased beta1 or beta2 globulins:
- Protein malnutrition
Increased beta1 or beta2 globulins can potentially be due/related to:
A common condition where the thyroid doesn't create and release enough thyroid hormone into your bloodstream.
A chronic disease in which the bile ducts in your liver are slowly destroyed
A cancer that forms in epithelial tissue. Epithelial tissue lines most of your organs, the internal passageways in your body (like your esophagus), and your skin.
Occurs when a pituitary adenoma, a noncancerous (benign) tumor on the pea-size pituitary gland, makes too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
Diabetes mellitus (some cases):
A disorder in which the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin, causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to be abnormally high.
Iron deficiency anemia:
Due to insufficient iron
Occurs when a sudden spike in blood pressure puts you at risk for organ damage.
A group of symptoms that indicate your kidneys are not working properly.
A serious inflammatory blood vessel disease.
A specific type of jaundice, where symptoms develop due to a narrowed or blocked bile duct or pancreatic duct, preventing the normal drainage of bile from the bloodstream into the intestines.
Alpha 1-, alpha 2- and beta-Globulin concentrations increase from the first trimester towards term. gamma-Globulin concentration change little during gestation.
Hyperlipoproteinemia or familial hypercholesterolemia:
A disorder in which the body has problems breaking down fats
Own it for life
Our exclusive data entry service is a convenient way to get your results into your private dashboard. Simply attach an image or a file of your lab test results, and one of our qualified data entry team members will add the results for you. We support all sorts of files, whether PDFs, JPGs, or Excel. This service is excellent whether you have a lot of reports to upload or are too busy to do the data entry yourself.
We strive to make the data entry process easy for you. Whether by offering dozens of templates to choose from that pre-populate the most popular laboratory panels or by giving you instant feedback on the entered values. Our data entry forms are an easy, fast, and convenient way to enter the reports yourself. There is no limit on how many lab reports you can upload.
billed every month
Data entry included
$6.60/month billed annually
Data entry included
own it for life
Are You a Health Professional?
Get started with our professional plan
Welcome to Healthmatters Pro.
Save time on interpreting lab results with the largest database of biomarkers online. In-depth research on any test at your fingertips, all stored and tracked in one place. Learn more
Pro Monthly Plus
for health professionals
$75 per month