Protein Electrophoresis
Label Mnemonic: SPE
Epic code: LAB953
Downtime form: A-1a Doctor/Provider Orders - Pathology Core and Specialty Care Nursery
6240 RCP
Collection Medium:
Red top tube 5 mL (Clot Activator)
2 mL whole blood or one microtube for pediatric patients includes total protein.
Testing Schedule:
Daily - Monday-Friday
Turn Around Time:
48 Hours
Reference Range:
Albumin      4.2 - 5.2 g/dl
Alpha1       0.3 - 0.5 g/dl
Alpha2       0.3 - 0.6 g/dl
Beta1        No range
Beta2        No range
Beta-total   0.6 - 1.0 g/dl
Gamma        0.5 - 1.3 g/dl

Albumin      3.7 - 5.0 g/dl
Alpha1       0.3 - 0.5 g/dl
Alpha2       0.4 - 0.6 g/dl
Beta1        No range
Beta2        No range
Beta-total   0.6 - 0.9 g/dl
Gamma        0.5 - 1.3 g/dl
Serum protein electrophoresis methodology switched from traditional gel electrophoresis to capillary electrophoresis on September 24, 2012. This includes reference range changes (now additionally split into male and female-specific ranges) for the individual fractions resolved by electrophoresis. Capillary electrophoresis is able to resolve separate beta-1 and beta-2 fractions, although a reference range is only available for the total beta fraction.

The table below shows the proteins that predominantly make up the fractions of electrophoresis:

Fraction     Protein                     Major or minor protein
                                         visible by electrophoresis

Albumin      Albumin                               Major

Alpha-1      Alpha-1 antitrypsin                   Major
             Alpha-1 lipoprotein                   Minor
             Alpha-1 acid glycoprotein             Minor

Alpha-2      Alpha-2 macroglobulin                 Major
             Haptoglobin                           Major
             Ceruloplasmin                         Minor
             Fibronectin                           Minor

Beta-1       Transferrin                           Major

Beta-2       C3                                    Major
             C4                                    Minor
             Beta-lipoprotein                      Minor

Beta-2 /     Fibrinogen                            Major
Beta-gamma   IgA                                   Major*
             IgM                                   Major*

Gamma        Most immunoglobulins                  Major
             C-reactive protein                    Minor

*IgA and IgM are normally not very visible in individuals without a 
plasma cell dyscrasia by electrophoresis, but are detectable when 
present as M-proteins.  Polyclonal IgA can be seen in cirrhosis.

Radiocontrast dyes used in imaging can produce small peaks by capillary 
electrophoresis.  Iohexol and iopamidol show up in the alpha-2 region.  
It is recommended to delay electrophoresis, if possible, for several 
days after radiocontrast dye administration.

Gelatin-based plasma substitutes can produce polyclonal-like increases 
in beta-gamma and gamma regions.

Piperacillin-tazobactam can produce a small peak in the beta-1 
Capillary Electrophoresis