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Clin Chem. 1992 Jun;38(6):798-802.

Characterization of cryoglobulins by immunoblotting.

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Laboratoire d'immunochimie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpétrière, Paris, France.


We adapted an immunoblotting technique for the immunochemical characterization of cryoglobulins. We first compared the results from 157 samples with results obtained by immunofixation and immunoelectrophoresis and then with clinical observations in 125 cases. Full identification was possible in 98% of the cases by immunoblotting, in 54% by immunofixation, and in 28% by immunoelectrophoresis. Novel microheterogeneity aspects were observed by immunoblotting and immunofixation in 13% and 6% of the cases studied, respectively. Our results confirm the frequency of autoimmune and infectious diseases associated with mixed cryoglobulinemias, whereas a lymphoproliferative syndrome was observed only in cases of cryoglobulinemia with a monoclonal constituent or a microheterogeneity aspect, which was not always revealed by immunofixation or immunoelectrophoresis. The pathophysiological importance and classification of microheterogeneity aspects is not clear. These observations justify using a sensitive and specific method for identifying cryoglobulins, even when present at low concentrations, and call for long-term studies of these patients.

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