THE HAPTOGLOBINS are a family of serum proteins which bind hemoglobin. The early studies of Jayle and his co-workers1 demonstrated that the haptoglobin levels are elevated in a wide variety of inflammatory diseases. In some illnesses associated with hemolysis, the hemoglobin released from the breakdown of the red blood cells combines with the haptoglobin to form a strong complex which appears to be removed in the reticuloendothelial system. If the rate of breakdown of red blood cells is greater than the production of haptoglobin, the serum haptoglobin level will decrease, in some cases to undetectable levels. If the hemolytic process is arrested, the haptoglobin can be regenerated (presumably in the liver) and the serum levels may return to normal.
When starch gel is used as a supporting medium for electrophoresis,2,3 human sera can be separated according to haptoglobin types. Three major types, 1-1, 2-2, and 2-1, were
Blumberg BS, Kuvin SF, Robinson JC, Teitelbaum JM, Contacos PG. Alterations in Haptoglobin Levels. JAMA. 1963;184(13):1021–1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.73700260004010b
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