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What is the difference between serum and blood plasma?

The serum and blood plasma are part of the blood. In principle we could think that it is about different ways of referring to the same object, but it is not like that. There are small differences between serum and blood plasma that will be explained later.

First of all, we have to mention what blood is. It is a liquid tissue that circulates through the vascular system and is responsible for distributing nutrients and other elements inherent in the functioning of the body. It is made up of blood cells, platelets, plasma and numerous proteins.

Serum and plasma , which are extracted from the blood , can be used to perform specific clinical tests that facilitate the diagnosis of certain diseases . To separate these components, the blood is placed in test tubes and centrifuged.

The centrifugation process separates the constituents from the blood according to their mass. Centrifuging blood we will obtain two fractions: a cellular fraction – heavier – that contains red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and other cells of the immune system; and a free fraction of yellowish cells known as blood plasma.

Difference between serum and blood plasma

What is the difference between serum and blood plasma?

The key that differentiates the serum from the blood plasma are the coagulation factors, small proteins of the blood that take care of the coagulation when it is necessary (for example, when we become a wound). The blood plasma is obtained by centrifuging the blood, it is constituted by the same elements as the serum and, in addition, the coagulation factors. On the other hand, serum does not contain these factors ; it is the liquid and yellowish fraction that separates from the blood when it coagulates.

Among the coagulation factors we find fibrinogen, fundamental substance in the blood coagulation process. Without fibrinogen, our body loses the ability to contain hemorrhages . Presenting abnormal levels of this element can lead to important disorders such as hemophilia. Generally, diseases related to the lack of one, several or all of the coagulation factors are usually treated with donations of blood plasma.

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What is the use of blood plasma?

Blood plasma is made up mostly of water , although it retains important components such as vitamins, hormones or proteins. The most important proteins in plasma are:

  • Albumin. It is responsible for maintaining blood pressure.
  • Globulins. They perform defense functions.
  • Coagulation factors. Involved in the healing of wounds.
  • Lipoproteins They stabilize other lipid molecules in an aqueous environment such as blood.

Blood plasma is used in patients who have suffered burns. The objective is to replace lost fluids and proteins, because the skin in those cases does not have the capacity to retain fluids. The coagulant benefits of plasma are also used to be used in people suffering from coagulation deficiencies, such as hemophilia patients.

What is the serum for?

What is the difference between serum and blood plasma?

The serum retains a high concentration of antibodies. Consequently, it is used to treat infections, making the antibodies that are in it adhere to the infectious agent, generating a chain reaction that leads to its elimination, a mechanism known as the immune response.

Additionally, by maintaining a high concentration of electrolytes, the serum is also used to treat patients with chronic dehydration. It is usually combined with other nutrients that provide energy and vitality to the patient.

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Other important functions of serum and blood plasma

Platelet rich plasma

What is the difference between serum and blood plasma?

Blood plasma contains a significant amount of substances that participate in the process of tissue regeneration. In this process, the plasma has the power to stimulate the repair of damaged tissues.

On the other hand, relatively recently, the ability of the platelets contained in blood plasma to minimize and slow down the appearance of wrinkles has been demonstrated, being used in anti-aging therapies and treatments. Through the application technique of platelet-rich plasma for facial rejuvenation, activation of the cells responsible for producing collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is achieved, giving way to the biostimulation necessary for the regeneration of affected tissues.

Blood serum

The blood serum, on the other hand, has antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant powers . It is also called immune serum due to its richness in components that make up the body’s immune system, such as antibodies. Blood serum is used to treat mild inflammations such as tonsillitis, cystitis or otitis. Its use has taken place for decades and has given amazing results in the treatment of certain infections.

What is the difference between serum and blood plasma?