• Acute phase proteins;
  • feline;
  • lymphoid neoplasia;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • proteomics

Background: Serum electrophoretic profiles in cats are poorly characterized with respect to the proteins that comprise the globulin fractions, and interpretation of the electrophoretograms is routinely done in the absence of information about identity of the proteins found within each fraction.

Objectives: The aims of this study were to compare protein fractions separated by serum protein electrophoresis (SPE) in healthy cats and in cats with lymphoma and to confirm some component proteins in the major fractions following SPE using tandem mass fingerprinting analysis (TMFA).

Methods: Total protein concentration was measured and agarose gel SPE performed on serum from 14 healthy cats and 14 cats with lymphoma. The absolute protein concentration within each fraction was compared between the 2 groups. Bands corresponding to the SPE fractions were excised from the gels of 2 control cats and 1 cat with lymphoma and analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry. Results were compared with sequences in the National Center for Biotechnology Information protein database.

Results: Median albumin concentrations were significantly decreased and median β-globulin concentrations were significantly increased in cats with lymphoma. Narrow electrophoretic spikes were present in the β/γ-globulin fraction in 3 cats with lymphoma. Following TMFA, multiple proteins were identified in each fraction, and their mobility agreed with results from previous studies generated using alternative techniques. Inter-α (globulin) inhibitor 4 was identified in feline serum for the first time.

Conclusions: Cats with lymphoma had lower albumin and higher β-globulin concentrations than did healthy cats. Despite limitations of one-dimensional agarose gel SPE, TMFA provided preliminary data to confirm the protein components of the various fractions.