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PTD - 339

Test Directory - CSF Total Protein

Clinical Indications

CSF normally contains little protein since serum proteins do not cross the blood-brain barrier. Most of the protein that is normally present is albumin. CSF Protein concentration may rise for two reasons. Increased permeability of blood brain barrier allowing more protein and higher molecular weight proteins to enter the CSF or proteins may be synthesised within the cerebrospinal canal by inflammatory or other invading cells.

Request Form 

Combined Pathology Blood form (Yellow/Black)


On request

Specific Criteria


Patient Preparation

None required.



CSF protein results on bloodstained samples are unreliable.

Turnaround Time

Same day




Minimum of 0.5 ml.


White Capped Universal.

Causes for Rejection

Unlabelled sample.

Reference Range

The normal CSF protein concentration ranges from 0.23 to 0.38 g/L in adults.

CSF protein concentrations in premature and term neonates normally range between 0.2 and 1.7 g/L.The CSF protein concentration may be mildly elevated in patients with diabetes mellitus.

References: Greenlee JE, Carrol KC. Cerebrospinal fluid in CNS infections. In: Infections of the Central Nervous System, 2nd ed, Scheld WM, Whitley RJ, Durack DT (Eds), Lippincott-Raven Publishers, Philadelphia 1997.
Sarff LD, Platt LH, McCracken GH. CSF evaluation in neonates: comparison of high-risk infants with and without meningitis. J Pediatr. 1976;88(3):473.


Elevations in CSF protein concentration can occur in both infectious and non-infectious conditions, including conditions associated with obstruction of CSF flow. CSF protein can also be elevated by a subarachnoid hemorrhage or a traumatic LP. CSF protein elevations may persist for weeks or months following recovery from meningitis and have little utility in assessing cure or the response to therapy

Lab. Handling

Processing: Centrifuge universal, affix a 6-prefix barcode and aliquot into a false bottom tube for line 1 of the Cobas analyser. Store at 4C in the cold room (CB23).


Version 1.0 / December 2014                                                                                                  Approved by: Consultant Biochemist