The human plasma is composed of a series of proteins possible to be
identified. Protein electrophoresis is a technique to separate them from serum.
The test consist of placing the serum in a particular environment, and applying
electric charge to ensure displacement of proteins from positive to negative
pole, according to their molecular weight and physical properties.
Serum protein electrophoresis quantifies directly the acute-phase response. Inflammation is followed by characteristic protein alterations that are reflected on high-resolution electrophoresis.
The typical pattern includes increases in immunoglobulins as well as increases in the α-1 zone (e.g. α-1 antitrypsin, others) and α-2 zone (e.g., α-2 macroglobulin, haptoglobin) and the β area (fibrinogen, CRP).
Decreases (negative acute phase reactants) are seen in prealbumin, albumin, and the β zone (transferrin).