This is a schematic drawing demonstrating IEP. (1) A serum or concentrated urine sample is electrophoresed on agarose gel. (2) Antisera containing the components of interest are placed in a well parallel to the separated protein. (3) The preparation is incubated overnight, during which time diffusion of antisera and sample takes place. (4) The slide is inspected for arcs made by precipitation of the antisera with the protein (antigen). Using monovalent antisera, arcs can be seen for IgG, IgA, and IgM, and for kappa and lambda light chains. An abnormal Ig will be seen as an extra arc or a discontinuous arc. IEP is not a quantitative technique. To quantitate polyvalent Igs, radial immunodiffusion or rate nephelometry can be used. Normal levels of Ig are IgG 0.5-1.9, IgA 0.06-0.33, and IgM 0.045-0.145 gm/dl.
Course Section: 10. Plasma Cell Dyscrasias
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