urine immunofixation

What Is Urine Immunofixation?

Urine immunofixation is a test that looks for abnormal proteins in urine. In particular, it looks for an abnormal protein known as M-protein.

An M-protein is a kind of abnormal immunoglobulin created by plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cells. Immunoglobulins are antibodies created and used by your body to destroy invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

M-proteins in your urine can be a sign of serious health problems, such as multiple myeloma.

Urine immunofixation uses electricity to push proteins from your urine sample through a kind of gel. This process is known as electrophoresis. The lab will also treat the gel so that it only keeps certain proteins in a process known as immunofixation. After this, the lab will do a stain test to see what kinds of proteins show up as bands or peaks.

Why Should I Get This Test?

You should take this test if your doctor believes you have a health condition such as:

  • Primary amyloidosis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia

Primary amyloidosis. This is what it is called when an abnormal protein builds up in cells and organs. This tissue is known as amyloid and is made of antibody protein. Amyloid can damage organs such as your brain, lungs, heart, and kidneys by gathering in them.

Multiple myeloma. This is a type of cancer that forms in white blood cells known as plasma cells. As abnormal plasma cells build up in your bone marrow, you may grow bone tumors. 

Multiple myeloma prevents your bone marrow from making different blood cells. Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue or extreme exhaustion
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Bone pain
  • Unusual bone fractures

Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. This is another type of cancer that begins in your white blood cells. It causes your bone marrow to produce too many white blood cells, leading to the production of a protein that accumulates in your blood. 

This will impact your blood circulation and cause complications. Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Unusual bruises or bleeding
  • Weakness and fatigue

Test Results

Test results may be different depending on your gender, age, medical history, and other factors. Make sure to talk to your doctor to get a better understanding of your test results.

Normal Results. A normal result would mean you have no M-proteins in your urine.

Abnormal Results. This means you have M-proteins in your urine. This may indicate you have the conditions discussed above. Talk to your doctor to get a better understanding of what this could mean for your health and what you can do about it.