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Difference Between Plasma and Serum

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Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Plasma and Serum: Two Key Components of Blood

Plasma and serum are two crucial components of blood that are essential for maintaining the proper function and health of the body. Plasma and serum are two important components of blood that are often used in medical testing and diagnostics. Medical professionals use plasma and serum testing to diagnose and monitor a range of medical conditions, including infections, autoimmune disorders, and metabolic disorders. Understanding the differences between plasma and serum and their roles in blood testing is important for anyone interested in learning more about the science of blood and the diagnosis of medical conditions. Now, let's explain plasma and serum.

What is Plasma and Serum?

Plasma 

Plasma is a liquid component found in the blood that constitutes about 55% of the total blood volume. It is a complex mixture of various molecules, including electrolytes, proteins, hormones, and other substances, that perform several important functions in the body. Plasma helps to transport nutrients, waste products, hormones, and other molecules throughout the body, regulates blood pressure and pH, and plays a crucial role in the immune system and blood clotting. Medical professionals use plasma testing to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions. Understanding the role of plasma in the body is essential for anyone interested in the science of blood and the diagnosis of medical conditions.


Serum

Serum is the liquid component of blood that remains after the clotting factors have been removed. It is similar to plasma in terms of composition, but it does not contain the proteins responsible for coagulation. Instead, the serum contains a variety of important substances, such as electrolytes, hormones, and proteins, that are involved in many different biological processes. Medical professionals use serum testing to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, and metabolic disorders. Serum testing is often used in conjunction with plasma testing to provide a more complete picture of a patient's health. Understanding the role of serum in the body and in medical testing is important for anyone interested in understanding the science of blood and the diagnosis of medical conditions.


Characteristics of Plasma and Serum

The key characteristics of plasma include:


  • Plasma contains clotting factors, which are responsible for the blood's ability to coagulate and form clots.

  • Plasma also contains antibodies, which are proteins that help the body fight off infections and foreign invaders.

  • Plasma helps to transport nutrients, waste products, hormones, and other molecules throughout the body.

  • Plasma plays a crucial role in the immune system, helping to defend the body against pathogens and other foreign invaders.

  • Plasma helps to regulate blood pressure and pH, maintaining the delicate balance of the body's internal environment.

  • Plasma is used in a wide range of medical tests to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, such as infections, autoimmune disorders, and metabolic disorders.


The key characteristics of serum include:


  • Serum contains a variety of important substances, such as electrolytes, hormones, and proteins, that are involved in many different biological processes.

  • Serum does not contain clotting factors, which are removed during the clotting process.

  • Serum is used in a wide range of medical tests to diagnose and monitor various medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, and metabolic disorders.

  • Serum is often used in conjunction with plasma testing to provide a more complete picture of a patient's health.

  • Serum testing is a non-invasive and relatively simple way to obtain information about a patient's health status.


Plasma and Serum Difference 

The table presented below highlights the main differences between plasma and serum.


S.No

Plasma

Serum

1

It is a liquid component of blood.

It is a liquid component of blood that remains after blood has clotted.

2

It contains clotting factors.

It does not contain clotting factors. 

3

Used for blood transfusions.

Not used for blood transfusions.

4

It contains fibrinogen.

It does not contain fibrinogen.

5

Used in coagulation tests.

Not used in coagulation tests

6

Plasma constitutes about 55% of the total blood volume.

Less volume is present compared to plasma.


Summary

Plasma and serum are both liquid components of blood that contain electrolytes, hormones, and proteins, but they differ in several key ways. Plasma contains clotting factors and fibrinogen and is used for blood transfusions, blood typing, and coagulation tests. Serum does not contain clotting factors or fibrinogen and is used in tests to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions. While both plasma and serum are important components of blood, they are used for different purposes in medical settings.

FAQs on Difference Between Plasma and Serum

1. What are the differences between plasma and serum?


Plasma is the liquid component of blood that is collected with an anticoagulant to prevent clotting, while serum is the liquid component of blood that is collected after the blood has clotted and the clotting factors have been removed. Plasma contains clotting factors and fibrinogen, which are important for blood clotting, while serum does not contain these factors. Plasma is used for blood transfusions and to treat bleeding disorders, while serum is not used for these purposes. Plasma is used in coagulation tests to assess the blood's ability to clot, while serum is not used in these tests. Plasma is used in blood typing to determine a patient's blood group, while serum is not used in this process.

2. What are the 5 similarities between plasma and serum?

Both plasma and serum are liquid components of blood that contain electrolytes, hormones, and proteins. Both plasma and serum are used in laboratory tests to diagnose and monitor a wide range of medical conditions. Both plasma and serum can be used to measure levels of specific substances in the blood, such as glucose or cholesterol. Both plasma and serum can be used to detect the presence of infectious agents, such as viruses or bacteria. Both plasma and serum can be used to monitor kidney and liver function.

3. What are the four functions of plasma?

The major four functions of plasma are as follows:


  • Plasma transports nutrients, gases, and waste products to and from cells throughout the body. 

  • Plasma contains clotting factors and fibrinogen, which are important for blood clotting. 

  • Plasma contains antibodies and other immune system components that help protect the body against infections. 

  • Plasma helps maintain the body's fluid balance by regulating the movement of water and electrolytes between the blood and surrounding tissues.