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Routine Electrophoresis

Routine electrophoresis is a generic term for the traditional clinical laboratory electrophoresis performed on a rectangle-shaped slab gel. Routine electrophoresis is mostly used for separation of proteins and has some use in separating nucleic acids. Generally several patient specimens and control(s) can be placed on one gel and solutes separated in one run. This type of electrophoresis is sometimes called zone electrophoresis.

A serum sample with normal plasma proteins yields five zones or bands of separated proteins: albumin, alpha-1-globulins, alpha-2-globulins, beta-globulins, and gamma-globulins. Proteins in CSF and urine proteins are also separated with routine electrophoresis. Using whole blood treated with a reagent to lyse red blood cells, variant and glycosylated hemoglobins can be detected. With different visualization methods, isoenzymes and lipoproteins in a serum sample can be identified.

A manual agarose gel electrophoresis of eight serum samples is pictured below. After electrophoresis, the gel was stained with Ponceau S.

Agarose Gel Electrophoresis