Serum protein electrophoresis pattern in patients living with HIV: frequency of possible abnormalities in Iranian patients
Background and Objectives: This prospective case-control study was conducted to evaluate abnormal serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP) patterns in patients living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its relation with disease severity markers and anti-retroviral treatment status.
Materials and Methods: Thirty-seven HIV-positive patients and 24 healthy individuals were evaluated in the course of this study. The healthy HIV-negative individuals were selected as control group. Pregnant women, patients with malignancies, children, hepatitis B- and/or C-positive patients, those with a history of an autoimmune disease, or previous corticosteroid administration were excluded. SPEP—which detects serum levels of albumin, total protein, gammaglobulin—, CD4+ T-cell counts, viral load, and antiretroviral treatment status were assessed. Data were analyzed by SPSS™ software.
Results: Twelve patients (32 percent) demonstrated polyclonal gammopathy on SPEP, while only 1 (4 percent) healthy individual had the same pattern (P-value = 0.007). No statistically significant connection between SPEP patterns and antiretroviral treatment status was observed (P-value > 0.05). Interestingly no statistically significant relationship between CD4+ T-cell counts and polyclonal gammopathy was discerned. No statistically significant difference was observed between the two groups with regards to serum albumin and total protein levels. The serum albumin to total protein percentage, serum gamma globulin to total protein percentage, and serum albumin to globulin ratio was compared between the groups and a statistically significant difference was observed.
Conclusion: Polyclonal gammopathy on SPEP is common among HIV-infected patients. Moreover, the SPEP patterns cannot be used as an indication of a patient’s negative or positive response to treatment.
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