What is the role of electrophoresis in the workup of leishmaniasis?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Craig G Stark, MD, FACP, FFTM, RCPS(Glasg), FISTM; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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In visceral leishmaniasis, an elevated serum immunoglobulin level with polyclonal spike may be present on serum plasma electrophoresis (SPEP). Visceral disease was traditionally diagnosed based on the addition of formaldehyde to a serum sample (aldehyde test), which would increase the viscosity secondary to excessive immunoglobulins.

Cellulose acetate electrophoresis is a well-standardized method for determining the species of parasites grown from clinical samples. Although this test is standardized, it requires experience and special facilities; therefore, it is available only in highly specialized diagnostic facilities.

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