Blood serum is made up of plasma that has had the fibrinogens removed. Plasma is the liquid part of blood and is yellow in color and is made mostly of water. Fibrinogens consist of proteins that cause the blood to clot. The serum components are often measured during laboratory tests where blood work is required and there are various tests using them.
Albumin is one of the serum components that is often tested. Albumin is a water soluble protein present in blood. It is the protein that is most abundant in the plasma of all mammals. In fact, albumin makes up half of the protein found in plasma. By nature, albumin is a carrier protein. It is used to transport some hormones and fatty acids throughout the body.
Globulin is another of the serum components present in plasma. Globulin is also a protein. It is produced both by the liver and by the immune system. Antibody deficiencies are often suspected when the globulin levels are low. The term globulin is sometimes used when referring to any globular protein. This can be misleading since some globular proteins, such as albumin, are not actually globulins themselves.
Another of the serum components is a group of molecules known as lipids. Lipids include such things as fats, oils, and triglycerides. Cholesterol is often checked as well during a lipid profile. This test can help to determine whether a patient suffers from conditions such as coronary heart disease or hardening of the arteries.
Serum iron is yet another test done when checking the serum components. This test is often performed when an iron deficiency such as anemia is suspected. This test is generally performed along with other tests in order to accurately measure iron levels circulating in the bloodstream.
Serum protein electrophoresis is another test used when testing serum components. This test is used to measure the proteins known as globulins. In this particular test, the globular proteins are actually separated and classified according to electrical charge and size. This test measures the serum albumin, the alpha globulins, the beta globulins, and the gamma globulins.
The serum total protein is another test of the serum components. This test is often used in place of the serum protein electrophoresis test. This test is generally preferred because it is a much less expensive test. The serum total protein test results also come back much more quickly than do the results of the serum protein electrophoresis test.