Immunoglobulins Panel, Serum

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Immunoglobulins Panel Serum

Immunoglobulin A

Immunoglobulin G

Immunoglobulin M

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The Immunoglobulins Panel, Serum test contains 1 test with 3 biomarkers.

Brief Description: The Immunoglobulins Panel test, also known as Total Serum Immunoglobulins test, is a comprehensive assessment of different types of immunoglobulins (antibodies) present in the blood. Immunoglobulins are proteins produced by the immune system to fight against infections and provide immunity. This panel measures the levels of various immunoglobulin classes: IgA, IgG, and IgM.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When and Why the Test May Be Ordered:

An Immunoglobulins Panel test may be ordered for several reasons:

  • Immune System Evaluation: To assess the overall function of the immune system and identify any abnormalities in immunoglobulin levels.
  • Suspected Immunodeficiency: If a person frequently experiences infections or has a history of recurrent infections, the test can help diagnose primary immunodeficiency disorders.
  • Autoimmune Conditions: Elevated levels of certain immunoglobulins can indicate autoimmune disorders.
  • Monitoring Treatment: For conditions like multiple myeloma, where abnormal immunoglobulin production can occur, this test helps monitor disease progression and response to treatment.

What the Test Checks For:

The Immunoglobulins Panel test measures the levels of different classes of immunoglobulins in the blood:

  • IgA: Predominantly found in mucosal areas like the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Elevated levels can indicate conditions like celiac disease.
  • IgG: The most abundant immunoglobulin, responsible for long-term immunity after exposure to infections or vaccines.
  • IgM: Produced in response to new infections, often the first immunoglobulin produced in the early stages of an infection.

Other Lab Tests That May Be Ordered Alongside:

When an Immunoglobulins Panel is ordered, it's often part of a broader evaluation of immune system health and potential disorders. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC) with Differential:

    • Purpose: To evaluate overall blood health, including the number and types of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess for signs of infection, inflammation, or other hematological abnormalities that might be related to immune system dysfunction.
  2. Protein Electrophoresis (Serum and/or Urine):

    • Purpose: To separate proteins based on their size and electrical charge, identifying abnormal levels and patterns.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To detect abnormal protein production, such as monoclonal gammopathy, which can be associated with immune disorders and certain types of cancer.
  3. Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test:

    • Purpose: To screen for antibodies that target the body’s own tissues, indicative of autoimmune disorders.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To investigate potential autoimmune processes that can be associated with abnormal immunoglobulin levels.
  4. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP):

    • Purpose: To measure markers of inflammation.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess the level of systemic inflammation, which can accompany immune system disorders.
  5. Specific Antibody Response to Vaccine Antigens:

    • Purpose: To assess the immune system's response to specific vaccines (e.g., pneumococcal, tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccines).
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate the functional capacity of the immune system to produce an adequate antibody response, important in the assessment of suspected immune deficiencies.
  6. Liver Function Test:

    • Purpose: To assess liver health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Because the liver is involved in protein synthesis, including immunoglobulins, liver disorders can impact immunoglobulin levels.
  7. Kidney Function Test:

    • Purpose: To evaluate kidney function.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess overall health, as kidney disease can impact immunoglobulin levels and the immune system.

These tests, when ordered alongside an Immunoglobulins Panel, provide a comprehensive evaluation of the immune system's functionality and can help diagnose various immune deficiencies, autoimmune diseases, and certain cancers. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual’s clinical presentation, medical history, and symptoms.

Conditions or Diseases Requiring the Test:

The Immunoglobulins Panel test is useful in diagnosing and monitoring various conditions, including:

  • Immunodeficiency Disorders: Conditions where the immune system is weakened, such as common variable immunodeficiency (CVID).
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Disorders where the immune system attacks the body's own tissues, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Infections: Changes in immunoglobulin levels can indicate ongoing infections.

How Health Care Providers Use the Results:

  • Diagnosis: Abnormal levels of specific immunoglobulins can help diagnose various conditions, including immunodeficiency, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.
  • Monitoring Treatment: The test can help assess the effectiveness of treatment, especially in conditions like multiple myeloma or immune deficiency disorders.
  • Prognosis: In some cases, monitoring changes in immunoglobulin levels over time can provide insights into disease progression.

In conclusion, the Immunoglobulins Panel test is a valuable tool for evaluating immune system function and diagnosing various immune-related conditions. It assesses the levels of different immunoglobulins, aiding in diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and overall patient care.

Most Common Questions About the Immunoglobulins Panel test:

Clinical Utility and Interpretation

What is the purpose of the Immunoglobulins Panel test?

The Immunoglobulins Panel test measures the levels of specific immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, and IgM) in the blood. These are antibodies produced by the immune system to fight pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. The levels can give insights into the function of a patient's immune system and can help diagnose various immune disorders.

How can the results of the Immunoglobulins Panel test reflect immune system activity?

Increased levels of certain immunoglobulins can suggest an active or recent infection, autoimmune disorders, chronic inflammation, or certain cancers. Decreased levels can indicate an immune deficiency or other conditions where the body fails to produce adequate amounts of antibodies.

Clinical Applications and Diagnoses

When might a physician recommend the Immunoglobulins Panel test?

A physician might order the Immunoglobulins Panel test if a patient presents with recurrent infections (indicating a possible immunodeficiency), symptoms of an autoimmune disorder, or to monitor certain conditions like multiple myeloma.

What conditions can be diagnosed or ruled out with the Immunoglobulins Panel test?

Conditions like Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID), Selective IgA Deficiency, and other immunodeficiencies can be diagnosed with this test. It's also valuable in the diagnosis of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, multiple myeloma, and certain autoimmune disorders.

Comparative Insights

How does the Immunoglobulins Panel test differ from other immune system tests?

While there are several tests to assess the immune system, the Immunoglobulins Panel test specifically measures the levels of the main classes of immunoglobulins. Other immune tests might assess the function of certain immune cells, measure complement levels, or detect specific autoantibodies associated with certain autoimmune disorders.

Understanding Limitations and Challenges

Can other factors affect the results of the Immunoglobulins Panel test?

Yes, various factors like medications (especially immunosuppressants and immunoglobulin infusions), age, and certain infections can affect the results. It's essential to provide a complete medical history to ensure accurate interpretation.

Why might immunoglobulin levels be elevated in conditions unrelated to infections?

In some autoimmune disorders and cancers, the immune system produces an excessive number of certain immunoglobulins, even in the absence of a triggering infection. This overproduction can be due to immune dysregulation, certain tumor cells producing immunoglobulins, or other unknown factors.

Additional Questions and Insights

What are the implications of having low IgA levels as revealed by the Immunoglobulins Panel test?

Low IgA levels, especially if significantly reduced, can indicate Selective IgA Deficiency. Individuals with this condition might be more susceptible to infections, especially of the mucous membranes like the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

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