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What causes a high globulin count?

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Quick Answer

A high globulin count is caused by chronic infections, chronic inflammation as in rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune syndromes such as lupus, multiple myeloma and Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, reports Patient. Liver cirrhosis and nephrotic syndrome can cause an elevated globulin serum ratio by decreasing serum albumin levels.

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Full Answer

Proteins are the main components of blood serum and are analyzed as part of a complete metabolic panel. Serum protein is comprised of albumin and three main types of globulin, alpha, beta and gamma globulin, which take on different functions as immunoglobulins, carrier proteins, enzymes and complement proteins. The laboratory process of electrophoresis separates proteins by size and charge to determine excesses or deficiencies in specific proteins, according to Jeremy Kaslow, M.D.

Albumin makes up more than half the total serum protein constituency, and gamma globulins represent most of the remaining globulin population. Gamma globulins are produced by plasma cells and mature into antibodies responsible for fighting infections. Antibody deficiency is suspected when the globulin count is low, and an inflammatory or infectious process is suspected when the globulin count is high. Antibodies are more specifically identified as immunoglobulins M, G and A, among others, states MedlinePlus. Overproduction of certain immunoglobulins, or a high globulin count, is related to certain diseases. For example, excess IgM antibodies are known to cause Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.

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