How are specimens collected for serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP)?

Updated: Jul 31, 2019
  • Author: Sherilyn Alvaran Tuazon, MD; Chief Editor: Eric B Staros, MD  more...
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Specimen: Serum

Container: Red-top tube, serum separator tube (SST; see the image below)

Photograph of a red-top and serum-separator (SST) Photograph of a red-top and serum-separator (SST) tubes. (Original photo by Rapeepat Lekkham, MD.)

Collection method: Routine venipuncture

Blood must first be collected in a red top or serum separator tube. Serum, which is the fluid portion of blood after it has clotted, is placed on a specific medium and exposed to an electric current to separate its protein components. Two methods are usually used namely, agarose gel electrophoresis, or less commonly, capillary zone electrophoresis. [3, 6, 7, 8] In both methods, proteins are classified by their final position into five general regions:

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