Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

Immunoelectrophoresis - urine

Urine immunoelectrophoresis is a laboratory test that measures immunoglobulins in a urine sample.

Immunoglobulins are proteins that function as antibodies . There are various types of these proteins. Some can be abnormal and may be due to cancer.

See also: Immunoelectrophoresis - serum

Alternative Names

Immunoglobulin electrophoresis - urine; Gamma globulin electrophoresis - urine; Urine immunoglobulin electrophoresis; IEP - urine

How the test is performed

Collect a "clean-catch" (midstream) urine sample. To obtain a clean-catch sample, men or boys should wipe clean the head of the penis. Women or girls need to wash the area between the labia (lips of the vagina) with soapy water and rinse well.

As you start to urinate, allow a small amount to fall into the toilet bowl. This clears the urethra -- the tube that carries urine from the bladder and opens to the outside. Then, in a clean container, catch about 1 - 2 ounces of urine. Remove the container from the urine stream. Give the container to the health care provider or assistant.

In an infant, thoroughly wash the area around the opening of the urethra. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For males, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For females, the bag is placed over the labia. Place a diaper over the infant (bag and all).

Check your baby frequently, and remove the bag after the infant has urinated into it. For active infants, this procedure may take a couple of attempts. Lively infants can displace the bag, making it difficult to get the specimen. Drain the urine into a container for transport back to the health care provider.

The laboratory technician uses electrical charges to separate and identify various immunoglobulins in the urine.

How to prepare for the test

Your health care provider may recommend that you collect the first morning urine, which is the most concentrated.

If you are taking the collection from an infant, you may need extra collection bags.

How the test will feel

The test involves only normal urination, and there is no discomfort.

Why the test is performed

This test is used to measure the amounts of various immunoglobulins in urine. Most often, it is done after a large amount of protein is found in the urine.

Normal Values

Normally there is no, or only a small amount, of protein in the urine. When there is protein in the urine, it normally consists of mainly albumin.

Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

Immunoglobulin in the urine can result from:

Some people have monoclonal immunoglobulins, but do not have cancer. This is called “monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance," or MGUS.

References

McPherson RA, Massey HD. Laboratory evaluation of immunoglobulin function and humoral immunity. In McPherson RA, Pincus MR, eds. Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 22nd ed. Philadelphia,Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 46.

Perry MC. Plasma cell disorders. In Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap193.

Updated: 6/5/2012

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com