Serology

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List of terms related to Serology

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Serology is the scientific study of blood serum. In practice, the term usually refers to the diagnostic identification of antibodies in the serum.[1] Such antibodies are typically formed in response to an infection (against a given microorganism)[2], against other foreign proteins (in response, for example, to a mismatched blood transfusion), or to one's own proteins (in instances of autoimmune disease).

Serological tests may be performed for diagnostic purposes when an infection is suspected, in rheumatic illnesses, and in many other situations, such as checking an individual's blood type.[1] Serology blood tests help to diagnose patients with certain immune deficiencies associated with the lack of antibodies, such as X-linked agammaglobulinemia. In such cases, tests for antibodies will be consistently negative.

There are several serology techniques that can be used depending on the antibodies being studied. These include agglutination, precipitation, complement-fixation and fluorescent antibodies.

Some serological tests are not limited to blood serum, but can also be performed on other bodily fluids such as semen and saliva, which have (roughly) similar properties to serum.

Serological tests may also be used forensically, generally to link a perpetrator to a piece of evidence (e.g., linking a rapist to a semen sample).

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed. ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 247–9. ISBN 0838585299. 
  2. Washington JA (1996). Principles of Diagnosis: Serodiagnosis. in: Baron's Medical Microbiology (Baron S et al, eds.) (4th ed. ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1. 

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