Philip R Greipp, Divisions of Hematology and Hematopathology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Hypergammaglobulinemia results from an overproduction of immunoglobulin by plasma cells, most commonly including an increase in plasma cells in the bone marrow. The plasma cell increase and the associated increase in immunoglobulin may be polyclonal or monoclonal. In polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia, nonneoplastic plasma cells increase in number in response to an antigenic stimulus such as infection, inflammation or a neoplasm. Monoclonal increases are not dependent on such a stimulus, but rather reflect a neoplastic increase in a single clone of plasma cells. Hypergammaglobulinemic disorders are recognized clinically when a physician orders a serum protein electrophoresis during a general medical examination, or when looking for a specific disorder.

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