Lipoprotein electrophoresis - plasma or serum

Last updated: Monday, 22, March, 2004

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Item Process

5 mL blood in EDTA or plain tube taken after a fast of at least 12 hours.


Usually agarose gel electrophoresis with staining for lipids.

Reference Interval
Qualitative test.

Investigation of patients with fasting triglyceride levels >4.0 mmol/L, to determine whether they have a type I, IIb, III, IV or V pattern. The test is not needed under other circumstances (eg isolated hypercholesterolaemia) to assess a lipo­protein abnormality. The main importance of the test is the diagnosis of patients with a type III pattern (dysbetalipoproteinaemia) who are at marked risk of premature vascular disease and xanthomata. This diagnosis should be confirmed by apoE genotyping or phenotyping, see Apolipoproteins.


Increased band                  Patterns

Chylomicrons                           I

Beta and pre-beta                    IIb

Broad beta                              III

Pre-beta                                 IV

Pre-beta and chylomicrons       V


Fredrickson DS. Circulation 1975; 51: 209-211.