Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP)

Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP) is a medical test used to evaluate the amount of protein in the blood and identify any abnormal patterns. The test separates the different types of proteins in the blood by their electrical charge, size, and shape, allowing doctors to identify any potential issues.

What is Serum Protein Electrophoresis?

Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP) is a laboratory test that separates and quantifies the different types of proteins in the blood, including albumin, globulins, and other proteins. The test involves applying an electric field to a serum sample, causing the proteins to move based on their electrical charge and size. The separated proteins are then visualized using a staining technique and analyzed to determine if there are any abnormalities.

Why is Serum Protein Electrophoresis performed?

SPEP is a valuable diagnostic tool that can identify a range of conditions, including:

  • Multiple myeloma
  • Waldenström macroglobulinemia
  • Amyloidosis
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
  • Liver disease
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • How is Serum Protein Electrophoresis performed?

SPEP is a simple blood test that is performed in a laboratory setting. The blood sample is drawn from a vein in the arm, and the serum is separated from the other blood components by centrifugation. The serum is then placed in a gel or cellulose acetate strip and subjected to an electric current. The proteins move across the gel or strip based on their electrical charge and size, forming distinct bands that can be analyzed for abnormalities.

What are the normal values for Serum Protein Electrophoresis?

The normal values for SPEP may vary slightly depending on the laboratory performing the test. However, the typical range for each protein is as follows:

Protein Normal Range
Albumin 3.4 – 5.4 g/dL
Alpha-1 globulin 0.1 – 0.3 g/dL
Alpha-2 globulin 0.6 – 1.0 g/dL
Beta globulin 0.7 – 1.2 g/dL
Gamma globulin 0.7 – 1.6 g/dL

What do abnormal results of Serum Protein Electrophoresis mean?

Abnormal results of SPEP can indicate various conditions, depending on the pattern of the protein bands. Some possible results and their associated conditions include:

  • Increased levels of gamma globulins can indicate multiple myeloma, Waldenström macroglobulinemia, or other lymphoproliferative disorders.
  • Increased levels of alpha-2 globulins can indicate inflammation or acute-phase reactions.
  • Increased levels of beta globulins can indicate liver disease or iron deficiency anemia.
  • Decreased levels of albumin can indicate liver or kidney disease, malnutrition, or other chronic illnesses.


“Serum Protein Electrophoresis (SPEP).” Mayo Clinic Laboratories.

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