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This special panel of tests can be helpful in screening for, or monitoring, conditions that result in abnormal protein production or loss such as multiple myeloma or multiple sclerosis.
Globulin is a term used to describe a set of sixty proteins including the antibodies or gamma globulins and protein-carbohydrate compounds known as glycoprotein. Proteins are constituents of muscles, enzymes, hormones, transport vehicles, hemoglobin, and other key functional and structural entities in the body.
Globulin proteins are divided into alpha-1, alpha-2, beta, and gamma proteins.
The liver produces much of the alpha and beta globulins.
The proteins are measures of nutrition. High and low values can indicate disease processes such as chronic inflammatory disease, nephrotic syndrome, cirrhosis, tissue necrosis, infections, myeloma, and rheumatoid collagen diseases.
The level of these proteins is measured against the levels of albumin, the other major type of protein in the bloodstream. A specific ratio must be met in order to maintain healthy circulatory function. Ratios of globulin compared to albumin can be low or high, and each presents its own dangers.
Abnormalities can point to chronic infection, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, chronic liver disease, ataxia, autoimmune diseases, myeloma, and leukemia.
Albumin is a protein formed in the liver and makes up 60% of total protein and is responsible for osmotic pressure in the vascular space (the tension of fluid within the blood vessels).
Globulins (calculated) are all non-albumin proteins and are less responsible for osmotic pressure.
Alpha 1 globulin consists of antitrypsin and transport proteins such as thyroid and cortisol-binding globulin.
Antitrypsin deficiency can be a factor in many disease processes such as COPD, asthma, Wegner’s granulomatosis, pancreatitis, and multiple cancers.
Alpha 2 globulins include serum haptoglobins, cerulosplasmin (a carrier for copper), prothrombin, and cholinesterase (an enzyme used in the catabolism of acetylcholine).
Haptoglobin can be a factor in diabetic nephropathy, coronary artery disease in type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, inflammatory disease behavior, primary sclerosing cholangitis, and Parkinson's disease.
Cerulopasmin is the major copper-carrying protein in the blood and plays a role in iron metabolism and is helpful in screening for lymphoma, acute and chronic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, angina, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Prothombin is involved in clotting. There is also a test called the Prothombin time test (PTT) which determines how quickly a patient is clotting.
Cholinesterase catalyzes the hydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into choline and acetic acid, a reaction necessary to allow a cholinergic neuron to return to its resting state after activation.
Beta 1 globulins include lipoproteins, transferrin, plasminogen, and complete proteins.
Lipoproteins include HDL and LDL which are measured in the lipid panel along with complete proteins.
Transferrin controls the level of free iron in biological fluids.
Plasminogen plays a role in blood clotting along with fibrinogen.
SERUM TOTAL PROTEIN ELECTROPHORESIS
Beta 2 globulins include fibrinogen.
Fibrinogen helps in the formation of blood clots.
Gamma globulins are the immunoglobulins (antibodies) IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM. They are part of the sensory neuropathy panel.
Albumin/globulin ratio (calculated) measures the percentage of albumin proteins versus globulin proteins.
Total protein measures albumin plus globulins.
Total protein can be elevated in endocrine dysfunction, liver dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, dehydration, and respiratory distress.
For more information on these tests, visit Quest Labs.