Plasma protein analysis

"The determination of total proteins serves for the diagnosis of different diseases that alter the proteins of the blood, urine or spinal fluid".

When the organism suffers some aggression (infection, trauma, surgical intervention, etc) a reaction process is initiated to face it. In the liver, the reactive proteins begin to be synthesized, which will fulfill a protective function of the organism by limiting the aggression and contributing to the repair.

During this reaction process, which is called acute phase reaction, the proportion between albumin and globulins changes and the physicochemical properties of the plasma are altered in a representative way.

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When are plasma proteins studied?

Proteins are present in all cells and in the various body fluids (plasma, urine...).

The circulating proteins are mainly synthesized in the liver.

The concentration of proteins in serum is 6.6 to 8.7 g/dl.

In case of disease, both the total concentration and that of the various fractions can be altered.

The determination of the total proteins serves for the diagnosis of different conditions.

Most frequent indications of this test:

  • Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency
  • States of malnutrition
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Nephrotic syndrome

Do you have any of these diseases?

You may need to have a plasma protein analysis

How is the study of plasma proteins performed?

  • Prealbumin and retinol carrier protein. They participate in the transport of hormones. Their level decreases rapidly when there are nutritional and hepatic problems.
  • Albumin. It constitutes 50-60% of the plasma protein. It is synthesized in the liver and remains in circulation for about 19 days until it is metabolized in the tissues for which it is a source of amino acids. Its most important functions are related to its size, which keeps it in the bloodstream, helping to retain liquid in this space, and to its negative electrical charge, which enables it to act as a great non-specific transporter of hormones, ions, drugs, etc.
  • Alpha 1-Glycoprotein acid and Alpha 1-Antitrypsin. These are the main components of alpha globulins. The first modulates the cellular response and the second inhibits proteases in the acute phase reaction.
  • Alpha 2- Macroglobulin. It is an antiprotease that stands out for its large size.
  • Ceruloplasmin. Protein that contains copper and has a double function: iron oxidant and general antioxidant.
  • Transferrin. It is the iron carrier protein. In iron deficiency anemia its concentration is elevated.
  • Beta 2-Microglobulin. A small protein that forms part of the histocompatibility antigens. It is elevated in blood when cellularity increases and, in urine, in renal tubular failure that prevents its retention and is lost.
  • C-reactive protein. It is the protein most sensitive to inflammatory processes that cause early and intense elevation of its blood concentration.
  • Immunoglobulins. Set of defensive action proteins, reactive with antigens.

To perform the analysis, a sample of venous blood is taken and, in the laboratory, the plasma proteins are separated.

When the examination requested is a urine proteinogram, 24-hour urine collection will be required and, if it is necessary to analyse the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a lumbar puncture will be performed.

There are different methods of separation, one of the simplest being electrophoresis, in which the serum is subjected to the influence of an electric field and, depending on the net electrical charge of each molecule, the size and shape, the strength of the electric field, the properties of the medium and the temperature of the test, are grouped into bands (normally separated into five bands: albumin, a 1-, a 2-, ß- and g-globulins) forming the proteinogram.

Once separated, the bands are stained with dyes (bromophenol blue or Coomassie blue).

Where do we do it?


The Clinical Biochemistry Service
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Clinical Biochemistry Service of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is responsible for performing the biochemical analyses requested by the medical specialists of our center.

We carry out technical quality controls to guarantee the proper functioning of the equipment and the highest precision in the results obtained from the samples.

In order to guarantee excellence in patient service, we offer the response with the results of the analyses in the shortest possible time, responding in only 46 minutes in some cases of general analysis.

Organized in care units

  • General biochemistry.
  • Electrolytes.
  • Hormones, urine and proteins.
  • Markers.
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Why at the Clinica?

  • Maximum speed in offering the analytical results.
  • We carry out quality controls to guarantee the correct and most precise results obtained.
  • We work in a multidisciplinary way with all the departments of the Clinic.