- An abnormal blood protein that has the unusual properties of precipitating from the blood serum when it is chilled (hence the "cryo-") and redissolving when it is rewarmed. Cryoglobulins are gamma globulins with a molecular weight of approximately 200,000. Cryoglobulins can cause problems by causing the blood to be abnormally "thick" which increases the risk of blood clots forming in the brain (stroke), eyes, and heart. Cryoglobulins are also associated with inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) which increases the risk of blockage of arteries. Cryoglobulins are a key part of a condition called essential mixed cryoglobulinemia. Cryoglobulins can also accompany diseases such as multiple myeloma, dermatomyositis, and lymphoma. Sometimes small amounts of cryoglobulin are discovered by accident in the lab in a serum sample from someone with no apparent symptoms.
* * *cryo·glob·u·lin .krī-ō-'gläb-yə-lən n any of several proteins similar to gamma globulins (as in molecular weight) that precipitate usu. in the cold from blood serum esp. in pathological conditions (as multiple myeloma) and that redissolve on warming
* * *n.an abnormal protein - an immunoglobulin (see paraprotein) - that may be present in the blood in certain diseases. Cryoglobulins become insoluble at low temperatures, leading to obstruction of small blood vessels in the fingers and toes in cold weather and producing a characteristic rash. The presence of cryoglobulins (cryoglobulinaemia) may be a feature of a variety of diseases, including macroglobulinaemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, and certain infections.
* * *cryo·glob·u·lin (kri″o-globґu-lin) any of numerous immunoglobulins, not present in normal serum, that undergo reversible precipitation as serum cools. They are classified in three groups, type I, type II, and type III, on the basis of clonality. See also cryoglobulinemia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.