Diagnostic Laboratory Services- Equine serum protein electrophoresis
May be decreased in association with prolonged poor nutrition, decreased hepatic synthesis or increased loss from the gastro-intestinal or urinary systems.
The only physiological reason for increased albumin is dehydration.
The post-albumin 'shoulder' may increase in prominence in horses with hypoalbuminaemia or acute inflammatory disease. It is consistently present in horses with chronic liver disease.
Increases in alpha-1 and mainly alpha-2 globulins are considered significant. Increases are common in acute inflammatory disease.
Increase in beta globulins may be non-specific, but have been reported with active liver disease, suppurative dermatopathy and nephrotic syndrome.
Chronic parasitism in the horse has been associated with elevated beta globulins.
High, sharp monoclonal spikes may be seen in this region due to multiple myeloma, or lymphosarcoma.
Beta-gamma bridging is lack of clear separation between the beta and gamma fractions. (It occurs due to the presence of fibrinogen if a plasma sample has been used instead of serum.) In serum beta-gamma bridging is strongly correlated with chronic active hepatitis and may be due to increases in IgA and/or IgM. It may also be seen with gammopathy or lymphosarcoma.
Low levels of gamma globulins are expected in foetal sera, precolostral neonates. Low levels may be seen with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) in Arabian horses or congenital system suppression. In mature animals slight decreases may represent relative immune system quiescence.
Increased Gamma Globulins
Increases in gamma globulins may be polyclonal (broad) or monoclonal (sharp) peaks.
Polyclonal gammopathies may be seen with a variety of conditions resulting in immune stimulation, including chronic infections, chronic hepatitis, immune-mediated diseases or tumours.
Monoclonal or oligoclonal (bi-phasic) gammopathies are most commonly seen with multiple myeloma, cutaneous lymphoma or lymphosarcoma, but also may be present with amyloidosis, or other types of immune-mediated disease.
A 'normal' equine serum protein electrophoresis trace