Bence Jones Protein
Other Known Aliases – urine monoclonal globulin protein
Definition – immunoglobulin paraproteins produced by neoplastic plasma cells that are found in the urine due to decreased kidney filtration from acute kidney injury
Clinical Significance – Bence Jones proteins are classically associated with multiple myeloma and Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia and these proteins were detected by heating a urine specimen to promote precipitation of the protein, but now is seen on electrophoresis of concentrated urine. Newer serum free light chain assays have been shown to be more sensitive and superior to the urine studies and are coming into favor.
History – Named after Henry Bence Jones (1813-1873), who was an English physician and chemist and received his medical doctorate from St. George’s Hospital in 1840. His love for chemistry was sparked during his medical training and he simultaneously undertook private instruction in chemistry studies from professor Thomas Graham. After medical school, he went to Giessen, Germany to train under Justus von Liebig’s (the leading chemist of his time) at his animalistic chemistry school. He described his eponymous finding in 1847 in an article entitled “On a new substance occurring in the urine of a patient with Mollities Ossium”. His work on applying chemistry principles to human disease was so far ahead of his time that his work was not nearly as successful as it should have been due to the lack of knowledge of biochemistry and physiology of the time.
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