Electrophoresis on protein in urine may also be
done, especially if the results of the serum protein electrophoresis test are
abnormal. Normally very little protein is found in urine, but certain diseases
(such as multiple myeloma) cause large amounts of protein to leak into the
Although abnormal protein levels may be found in many
conditions (such as kidney disease, chronic liver disease, systemic lupus
erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or
leprosy), serum protein electrophoresis is usually not
done to diagnose these conditions.
A special test can be done for
one of the major parts of the alpha-1 globulin group (called alpha-1
antitrypsin). Alpha-1 antitrypsin inhibits
enzymes in the lungs that break down protein. These
enzymes can damage normal lung tissue and cause emphysema. People born without
the ability to produce alpha-1 antitrypsin often develop severe emphysema at a
young age. This condition can be detected by testing them for alpha-1
antitrypsin. For more information, see the topic
Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Genetic Testing.
A test for total serum protein is often done at the
same time as serum protein electrophoresis. For more information, see the
Total Serum Protein.
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.