Broadening perspectives of electrophoresis—as seen from twenty-five years of use at the Cleveland Clinic

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ELECTROPHORESIS—the migration of particles under the influence of an electric field—has been applied to the study of the proteins of serum and other body fluids, and over the years has become increasingly important to the physician. Electrophoretic patterns of serum proteins have diagnostic significance, and can provide additional information in some cases concerning the progress of the disease. This report briefly traces the history of electrophoresis and the research—clinical development of electrophoresis during a quarter of a century of use at the Cleveland Clinic.

The development of moving-boundary electrophoretic methods from the early mobility studies of Picton and Linder1 in 1892, was gradual until 1937 when Tiselius2 perfected an apparatus that permitted quantitative estimation of the mobilities of various components in a mixed protein solution such as plasma. In 1941 no electrophoretic apparatus for the study of plasma proteins was available commercially, so an apparatus similar to that of Longsworth and MacInnes3 was constructed (Fig. 1) in the instrument shop at the Cleveland Clinic under the supervision of Roy McCullagh, Ph.D., head of the biochemistry department of the Division of Research. Because many materials were unavailable during World War II, progress was slow, but satisfactory analyses of some plasma samples were obtained early in 1942. Free moving-boundary electrophoresis using phosphate buffer, pH 7.8, as was performed in the early studies, resolved plasma proteins into five fractions: albumin, α2-globulin, β-globulin, ϕ-globulin and γ-globulin.

In collaboration with colleagues E. Perry McCullagh, M.D., and Robert W. Schneider, M.D., studies were . . .



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