CSF total protein

What is Total Protein in CSF?

Total Protein in Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) is a test typically performed on the CSF in order to measure the amount of proteins in the fluid. The test helps diagnose a variety of diseases and disorders of the brain, spinal cord, or the meninges that form the covering around the brain and spinal cord.


No preparaciĆ³n is required for a CSF total protein test, however, you may be advised to maintain a dietary record prior to the test. You might also be asked to rest and avoid any strenuous activity that could lead to an increase in protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid.


A lumbar puncture is the most common procedure used to get a sample of CSF for the total protein test. During this procedure, a thin needle is inserted into the lower spine and a small sample of CSF is withdrawn. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, and the results are usually available within a few days.

Types of Total Protein in CSF

Total Protein in CSF can be divided into two different categories: albumin and globulins. Albumin is a protein made up of large molecules, which serves to maintain the correct amounts of fluid and electrolytes within the CNS and helps with transporting hormones, vitamins, and other substances. Globulins are smaller molecules, which are divided into two major classes: Alpha-globulins and beta-globulins. Alpha-globulins are associated with inflammation, while beta-globulins help transport fats, hormones, and other substances.


A lumbar puncture is usually a safe procedure; however, there may be a few risks associated with it, including headache, bleeding, infection, and nerve damage. Although these are rare, it is important to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have.

Why is Total Protein in CSF Measured?

Total Protein in CSF is measured because a high level of protein can be an indication of certain neurological diseases and/or disorders. It is important to measure total protein in CSF to help diagnose a variety of diseases, including meningitis, encephalitis, and other CNS disorders.

When to Test Total Protein in CSF?

It is important to have a regular monitoring of total protein levels in the cerebrospinal fluid in order to detect any changes that may occur over time. If any symptoms indicative of a neurological disorder are present, such as headache, confusion, or memory loss, testing for total protein in CSF may be recommended.