Serum vs Plasma- Definition and 17 Major Differences


Serum and plasma are two terms that are often used interchangeably in the context of blood. However, they are not the same thing and have different properties and functions. In this article, we will explain what serum and plasma are, how they are obtained, and what are the major differences between them.

Blood is a complex fluid that consists of various components, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Plasma is the liquid part of blood that carries the blood cells and other substances throughout the body. It makes up about 55% of the total blood volume and contains about 90% water and 10% dissolved substances, such as proteins, hormones, electrolytes, nutrients, waste products, and antibodies.

Serum is the fluid that remains after blood has been allowed to clot and the clot has been removed. It is essentially plasma without the clotting factors, such as fibrinogen, prothrombin, and other proteins involved in blood coagulation. Serum contains about 92% water and 8% dissolved substances, such as albumin, globulins, immunoglobulins, hormones, electrolytes, nutrients, waste products, and antibodies.

Serum and plasma are both important for various diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. They can be used to measure the levels of different substances in the blood, such as glucose, cholesterol, hormones, enzymes, antibodies, drugs, toxins, etc. They can also be used to transfuse patients who need blood components or to produce vaccines and other biological products.

However, serum and plasma are not interchangeable and have different advantages and disadvantages depending on the purpose. In the next section, we will discuss the differences between serum and plasma in more detail.