The capillary phenomena or capillary action has been known and taking active part in our lives for rather a long time now: the wax feeds the candle flame because of capillary action, the nutrition in trees can travel everywhere because of capillary action, paper towel absorbs liquid because of capillary action, etc. Now, the driving force of capillary electrophoresis (CE) that is – in this case – used for DNA analysis, is the high electric field. During the process, the sample components ‘run’ across the capillary in a CE device. The device then analyses their electrophoretic mobility, and identifies the DNA fragments according to their speed. The CE technology offers speed, specificity, and ability to carry out both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Because of the latter advantages, the laboratory technicians are now widely using the technology, and it has become the next advancement step in the medical technology field.
See an example of a kit here:
So… what is it actually useful for?
In clinical, the analysis of immune globulin of nephrotic syndrome, Chronic inflammatory, cirrhosis and autoimmune diseases by capillary electrophoresis method shows a clear characteristic, typical monoclonal light chain and a low concentration of monoclonal protein can also be detected by CE with high sensitivity. CE can also successfully separate several glycoprotein groups, identify glycosylated hemoglobin A1, Alc and other isomers, diabetes monitoring instructive value. CE has also been used for the analysis of urine protein and other body fluid proteins, such as cerebrospinal fluid, saliva, pleural transudate and pleural exudate. CE can also analyse personal protein expression in each person’s cancer cells, and pre-albumin concentration in serum can indicate nutritional status, and is also an important index to determine the malignancy, inflammation, cirrhosis. With efficient capillary electrophoresis (HPCE) method is very easy to separate quantitative detection wavelength of between 214 and 200nm. CE increased the resolution of albumin, which leads to higher sensitivity of double serum albumin detection. Nowadays, many clinical hospitals are using the CE technology for diagnostics and medicine assignment. Let us take anti-tumor reagent kits as an example: platinum-based therapy is applicable to all of the patients. In this case, the treatment assignment is no game: it can help the patient, but at the same time it is possible that it will do more harm than the actual cancer. In order to determine what treatment is the most effective for the patients, doctors are advised to use reagent kits based on CE technology. With specificity as high as 99.8%, the kits provide the exact answers about the patients DNA structure.
The CE technology is mostly paired with the Polymer Chain Reaction (PCR) technology that we described in the previous article. Put together they are the magic couple in the DNA analysis world: sample size needed is very small, analysis time – short, high specificity, high lab automatization, multiplex analysis of a variety of SNPs at the same time. These qualities make it perfect for the use of laboratory technicians who can spend more time communicating with their patients and making a real difference.