What Is Protein
play an important role in supporting optimal body functioning and health. For
oxygen to where it’s needed in the body
the growth and maintenance of tissues throughout the entire body
found in the blood of healthy people. However, you shouldn’t have a lot of
protein in your urine. Urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP) is a test your
doctor can use to determine if there’s protein in your urine. It can also help
your doctor find out how much of each type of protein is present.
will usually order a UPEP test if they suspect that you have a condition that
causes elevated protein levels in urine, such as multiple sclerosis or
may also order this test if an earlier test showed there was protein in your
urine. In this case, your doctor will use UPEP to monitor any treatment or
Measurements That Can Be
Determined Through UPEP
Most of the
proteins in your body that help keep you healthy can be placed into two major
groups: albumin and globulins.
Albumin is a
single protein that is found in high levels in the blood.
globulins are produced in the liver. They include four main types of proteins:
measures the levels of both major types of proteins in the urine.
Preparing for and
Completing a UPEP Test
Most people won’t
need to take special steps to prepare for a UPEP test. However, you may need to
stop taking some types of medication that can alter your test results. Examples
doctor before you stop taking any medications.
Completing the Test
a UPEP test, you will need to collect a small amount of urine in the container
Make sure your
genital area is clean. Men should wipe the head of their penis. Women should use
soap and water or an antibacterial wipe to clean their vulva. If using soap,
make sure you fully rinse it away. This process is called a “clean-catch”
small amount before you begin collecting the sample. This will help flush out
impurities from the urethra so they won’t be included in the sample.
You will probably
need to collect about 2 ounces of urine at most. Your doctor or a lab worker
will tell you how much urine is needed.
methods are used for collecting urine samples from infants. Ask your doctor
about urine collection bags and how to use them on your baby.
Overview of the Work Done
in the Lab
used to analyze the urine sample. In this process, a lab technician places the
urine on a special type of paper and applies an electric current. This causes
the two main types of protein to separate and create bands on the paper. A lab
technician analyzes the bands to determine if — and how much — proteins are
present in the sample.
Interpreting Test Results
the test results for UPEP is fairly straightforward. Globulins should not be
present in your urine. Albumin levels should be below 5 milligrams per
deciliter (mg/dL). Any amount of globulins or more than 5 mg/dL of albumin will
be considered abnormal.
Elevated Protein Levels
A number of
conditions can lead to high levels of protein in your urine. Examples include:
kidney function or kidney failure
(acute as opposed to chronic)
tract infection (acute)
damage (may be due to a variety of causes)
myeloma (a rare type of cancer)
Your doctor may
need to perform other tests to pinpoint the exact cause of abnormal protein
levels. After your doctor identifies the cause, they can provide more
information about potential treatment options.