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Discussion

Serum protein electrophoresis has proven to be
an effective and efficient method to separate different protein components in
the serum. Proteins are substances made of small
chemicals called amino acids and play a number of key roles in order to keep
everyone alive. Too much or too little protein can cause problems. (4). In
general, the higher the concentration of serum in a sample, the greater concentration
of protein there should be.

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Proteins carry a negative or positive charge. The electrical
current is what separates the serum proteins into the five major groups
according to their size, shape and net charge. Albumin is heavily negatively charged
so therefore it migrates furthest to the anode which is visible from the gel. Likewise,
gamma globulins are positively charged so therefore it moves towards the
cathode, negative proportion on the agarose gel. The migration of the proteins
also depends on the properties of the agarose gel and its strength of current.

The most abundant protein in the blood is Albumin as its showing
the darkest and thickest bands meaning greater level of Albumin in the blood. Albumin
is made by the liver that keeps fluid from leaking out of the blood vessels and
regulates the oncotic pressure. (6) However,
in the test samples, the darkest band is at samples 6 which must have a highest
concentration of gamma globulins compared to standard samples and the remainder
test samples. Gamma globulins provide short-term protection and reduce severity
of certain diseases and make up the largest proportion of immunoglobulins. The
reason for the Gamma globulin bands being blurry and wide is due to multiple
different types of immunoglobulins being present in the gamma field. Mixture of
shapes and sizes so therefore each one runs differently on the gel. (7)

SPE is a simple and rapid
method of separating proteins in the serum with immediate results.
Electrophoresis is proven to be extremely accurate giving reliable results and
is low in cost to use approximately around $2.60 per gel analysis. (8)

The weaknesses of this method include; a
limited sample analysis can be done so only a known sample can be analysed and
not very specific or into greater depth of unknown samples. Also with SPE a
starting sample is required so a sample must be prepared in advance in order to
measure what components are in the sample. So, a large tissue sample is
required in order to run the analysis and almost impossible to run on a single
cell sample. The limitation is that electrophoresis of proteins can only
identify main big groups not into depth of more smaller components. (9)

In the future, a better method suggested
would be Western blotting which is an analytical technique used to pinpoint a specific protein
in more detail. It’s a longer process but is more accurate and the specificity
is greater. The western blot method is more favourable as the sensitivity is
very good. Can detect as small as 0.1ng of protein in a sample which
would make a perfect diagnostic tool than can detect tiny immunogenic responses
from a virus or bacteria in the sample of a patient.