Immunoelectrophoresis - blood

Immunoelectrophoresis - Introduction

Immunoelectrophoresis (IEP) is a laboratory technique used to detect, identify, and quantify various substances and components present in body fluids, including blood, urine, and saliva. It is a special form of electrophoresis, which utilizes a special form of gel and antibodies to identify components of body fluids. Unlike conventional electrophoresis, it can identify specific proteins, hormones, and other chemicals that are present in very small quantities.

Types of Immunoelectrophoresis

Immunoelectrophoresis can be divided into two types: radial immunodiffusion and immunofixation. Radial immunodiffusion is used to detect serum proteins, such as albumin and IgG. Immunofixation is used to detect monoclonal proteins, which are usually produced by tumors.

Preparation for Immunoelectrophoresis

Before the procedure, blood samples must be collected. The sample is then transferred to a small tube and refrigerated to preserve its integrity. The tube is then centrifuged to separate the serum from the erythrocytes and other cells, before being placed in the IEP apparatus.

Immunoelectrophoresis Procedure

In the IEP procedure, the serum sample is first mixed with a pre-made mixture of antibody molecules. This mixture is then placed in an IEP apparatus. The sample is subjected to an electric field, and allowed to move from one end of the tube to another. Along the way, the antibodies bind to specific proteins, creating a circular pattern that forms in the gel. This pattern can reveal the presence of different proteins, and the quantities at which they are present.

Risks of Immunoelectrophoresis

The IEP procedure is generally considered to be safe, although there is a small risk of infection from handling of the sample. Additionally, the procedure is expensive, and some people may not be able to afford it.

Why is Immunoelectrophoresis Performed?

Immunoelectrophoresis is performed to help diagnose and monitor diseases and conditions. It is often used to detect monoclonal proteins, which can indicate the presence of certain tumors. It can also reveal protein deficiencies which can be linked to underlying illnesses, such as anemia, celiac disease, and chronic infections.

When is Immunoelectrophoresis Used?

Immunoelectrophoresis is commonly used to diagnose and monitor certain diseases and conditions. It is often used to diagnose and monitor cancer, autoimmune diseases, and kidney and liver diseases. It may also be used to detect certain allergies, or to assess the effectiveness of certain treatments.