The influence of psychological stress on total serum protein and patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis

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Abstract

Background

Significant alterations in total serum protein (TSP) patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis and serum proteins have been reported in patients with major depression and in subjects submitted to a combination of psychological and physical stress. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of academic examination stress, on TSP and patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis.

Methods

TSP and the concentrations and percentages of the major electrophoretically separated serum proteins were measured in 41 healthy biomedical students the day before a difficult academic examination (i.e. the stressful condition), as well as a few weeks before and after the stressful condition (i.e. two baseline conditions).

Results

Academic examination stress increased TSP and the alpha 1, alpha 2, beta and gamma concentrations in stress-reactors, but not in stress non-reactors (as defined by changes in the Perceived Stress Scale). Academic examination stress reduced the percentage of albumin in the stress-reactors, but not in stress non-reactors. There were significant positive relationships between the stress-induced changes in TSP and serum alpha 2, beta and gamma concentrations and the stress-induced changes in the Perceived Stress Scale.

Conclusions

The results show that even mild psychological stress of short duration can lead to measurable changes in TSP and in patterns obtained in serum protein electrophoresis.

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