Electrophoresis was first described by Arne Tiselius (1) in 1930, for which he received a Nobel Prize in 1948. In this pioneering experiment, he used a U-shaped quartz tube to show the separation of different proteins in free solution as contiguous bands. His work was published in 1937 (1) but received little notice until the late 1960s, when Hjerten (2) described the first capillary electrophoresis (CE) apparatus. Hjerten’s apparatus consisted of three units: 1) a high voltage power supply; 2) a detector; and 3) a unit holding a 1–3 mm ID quartz capillary tube, which was immersed in a cooling bath (2). He used this apparatus to prove numerous theoretical concepts in CE and was able to separate inorganic ions, proteins, nucleic acid, and microorganisms by capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) or capillary isoelectric focusing (LIEF). In spite of the pioneering work by Hjerten, CE was still relatively unknown until Jorgenson and Lukacs (3–5) published a series of papers in 1980. The availability of polyiimide-coated fused silica capillaries with a 75–100-μm internal diameter, in addition to sensitive absorbance detectors developed for micro-bore high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), were instrumental in the development of commercial CE applications. The smaller internal diameter eliminated band broadening caused by convection, whereas the plug flow characteristics of the electroosmotic flow (EOF) allowed efficiencies reaching hundreds of thousand of theoretical plates. Since the landmark publication in 1980 by Jorgenson and Lukacs research dealing with the applications of CE has grown exponentially. Consistent with the theme of this book, this chapter will try to provide a general overview of current and future applications of CE in clinical chemistry. It is not meant to be a comprehensive review of general literature, but instead an attempt to give a reader a flavor of its potential power in solving some of the challenging problems that arise in a clinical laboratory.
KeywordsCapillary Electrophoresis Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Capillary Zone Electrophoresis Fuse Silica Capillary Hemoglobin Variant
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