The different globin tetrameres (HbA=α2β2, HbF=α2γ2, HbA2=α2δ2 etc.) of hemoglobin have different electrical charges. If electric current is applied, the globin chain pairs move at varying speeds according to their charges. Since the electrical charge changes with the pH, hemoglobin electrophoresis is performed both in an alkaline as well as in an acidic environment.
On account of the differing rate of migration of the globin chain pairs, specific band patterns are seen in gel or cellulose acetate electrophoresis.
HbA = 95 -98%, HbA2 = 1.5 - 3.5%, HbF = 0.2 - 1.0 %
|Normal (or α-Thalassemia minor)|
|Sickle cell anemia, heterozygous|
|Sickle cell anemia, homozygous|
|Sickle cell anemia / β-Thalassemia|
|Hemoglobin C disease|
|A2=HbA2, S=HbS, F=fetal Hb, A=HbA, H=HbH=β4|
Suspicion of hemoglobinopathy , especially of β-globin chains. For the diagnosis of α-Thalassemieas, molecular methods have to be applied.