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Immunoglobulin M (IgM), Serum

Measurement of immunoglobulin M is used to detect congenital infections and can help diagnose and monitor infections.

Immunoglobulin M (IgM) is the first antibody to appear when an antigen enters the body and is active against Gram-negative organisms and rheumatoid agents. Immunoglobulin M forms natural antibodies, such as those in ABO blood groups. Normally it makes up 5 - 10% of all patient's immunoglobulins. The IgM molecule is too large to enter the placenta and thus cannot help provide the fetus with immunity to antigens. If IgM levels are elevated in cord blood samples, it may indicate that the infant had been infected before birth with microorganisms that may cause congenital abnormalities, such as Toxoplasma gondii, Cytomegalovirus, or the Rubella virus.

What Do Pathological Values Mean?
  • Increase: Biliary cirrhosis, cutaneous leishmaniasis, infection with cytomegalovirus, collagen vascular disease, dysproteinaemias, hyperimmunoglobulin M syndrome (HIM syndrome), infection (bacterial, parasitic), leptospirosis, Lyme disease, reticulocytosis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, toxoplasmosis, trypanosomiasis, Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. Medications: chlorpromazine.
  • Decrease: Humoral immune deficiency, hypogammaglobulinemia, multiple myeloma IgA or IgG, protein-loss enteropathy. Medications: carbamazepine, dextran.




Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".

Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.

At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.


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