Clinical implications of the types of cryoglobulins determined by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

University of Milan, Milano, Lombardy, Italy
Haematologica (Impact Factor: 5.81). 09/1998; 83(8):693-700.
Source: PubMed


Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2-D PAGE) is a new method which can be used to study cryoprecipitates from the sera of cryoglobulinemic patients. It led to the identification of a new type of cryoprecipitate, tentatively named II-III, characterized by polyclonal IgG associated with a mixture of polyclonal and monoclonal IgM. Some discrepancies with the conventional classification of cryoglobulins were revealed. The association of particular clinical features with the classification of cryoglobulins by 2-D PAGE is examined.
Sixty consecutive patients affected by cryoglobulinemic syndrome with mixed cryoglobulins were included in the study. All patients were evaluated for cutaneous, articular, hepatic, renal and nervous involvement. The washed cryoprecipitates were typed using both techniques: immunofixation electrophoresis (IFE) and 2-D PAGE.
Sixteen (6 cases of type II and 10 of type III by IFE) of 60 cryoprecipitates (26.6%) appeared as type II-III by 2-D PAGE analysis. Nine cases were classified differently by IFE and 2-D PAGE. Mixed cryoglobulins of type II-III were not associated with a particular clinical pattern. Examining the clinical findings in the mono group (those with monoclonal IgM alone) and the poly group (those with polyclonal IgM alone or polyclonal and monoclonal IgM) we found clearly significant differences: more severe liver involvement in the poly group, and higher cryocrit and creatinine values, lower C4 level and more severe purpura in the mono group.
Our results confirm the reliability of 2-D PAGE in characterizing cryoprecipitates. This sensitive method can demonstrate a higher number of monoclonal components, undetectable by IFE. Type II-III cryoglobulins are not associated with a particular clinical pattern. The presence or absence of polyclonal IgM in mixed cryoglobulins seems to be correlated with some clinical findings.

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