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Urine Protein Electrophoresis

2012-12-08 09:51

Urine protein electrophoresis refers to a medical produce that is used to separate and analyse the proteins present in a certain amount of urine.

Usually, only a small amount of protein present in our urine (less than 150mg/24h). Most of the protein are normally kept in our body by our kidney, however, once kidneys are damaged, various kinds of protein leak into our urine. Through analysing the amount and type of protein in urine, we can know clearly which part of our kidney is damaged as well as the severity of kidney damages.

Explanation about how protein in urine reflects kidney problem goes as follow:

1. Excessive low and middle molecular weight proteins in urine

Proteins with molecular weight less than 500 daltons is called low molecular weight protein and they pass through glomerular filtration membrane greely. In normal cases, small protein and some middle molecular protein (molecular weight is more than 500 dalton, but less than 10000 dalton ) go through glomerular filtration membrane and then almost completely reabsorbed by renal tubule. As large protein are not allowed to go through filtration membrane, thereby, there is normally little protein in our urine. However, once renal tubule is damaged, these low molecular weight protein can not be reabsorbed successfully and they present in urine. Therefore, excessive low molecular weight protein in urine indicates renal tubule might be damaged and this type of proteinuria is clinically called tubular proteinuria.

2. Glomerular proteinuria occurs when there are much more large protein

In our glomerular filtration membrane, there are holes with certain size. Protein with large molecular weight (molecular weight is usually larger than 10000 dalton) can not pass through it, so there is normally no large protein in our urine. However,if urine protein electrophoresis shows there are lots of large protein, we can get the conclusion that our glomerular filtration membrane is damaged. Proteinuria resulted from glomerular damages is called glomerular proteinuria in clinic.

3. Mixed proteinuria means both glomerular filtration and renal tubule are damaged

Mixed proteinuria means there are large protein, middle molecular weight protein and small protein. If urine protein electrophoresis unfortunately shows there is mixed proteinuria, we can generally know both glomerular filtration membrane and renal tubule are damaged. This kind of proteinuria is typically seen in chronic kidney failure.

Generally speaking, the more protein in urine, the more serious the kidney damages are. Since we can understand our kidney condition well with urine protein electrophoresis, this test is regarded as one of the obbligato tests for kidney disease patients.

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