AskDefine | Define serology

Dictionary Definition

serology n : the branch of medical science that deals with serums; especially with blood serums and disease

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The science that studies the reaction between antigens and antibodies in serum
  2. The characteristics of the blood serums of a particular disease or organism
  3. A blood test to detect the presence of antibodies

Extensive Definition

Serology is the scientific study of blood serum. In practice, the term usually refers to the diagnostic identification of antibodies in the serum. Such antibodies are typically formed in response to an infection (against a given microorganism), against other foreign proteins (in response, for example, to a mismatched blood transfusion), or to one's own proteins (in instances of autoimmune disease).
Serological tests may be performed for diagnostic purposes when an infection is suspected, in rheumatic illnesses, and in many other situations, such as checking an individual's blood type. Serology blood tests help to diagnose patients with certain immune deficiencies associated with the lack of antibodies, such as X-linked agammaglobulinemia. In such cases, tests for antibodies will be consistently negative.
There are several serology techniques that can be used depending on the antibodies being studied. These include agglutination, precipitation, complement-fixation and fluorescent antibodies.
Some serological tests are not limited to blood serum, but can also be performed on other bodily fluids such as semen and saliva, which have (roughly) similar properties to serum.
Serological tests may also be used forensically, generally to link a perpetrator to a piece of evidence (e.g., linking a rapist to a semen sample).

See also


External links

serology in German: Serologie
serology in Spanish: Serología
serology in French: Sérologie
serology in Hebrew: סרולוגיה
serology in Dutch: Serologie
serology in Japanese: 血清学
serology in Polish: Serologia
serology in Portuguese: Serologia
serology in Ukrainian: Серологія
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