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In a normal situation, different types of antibodies are produced by plasma cells. Kappa and lambda free light chains are present in excess but ratio kappa / lambda is normal.

In the context of monoclonal gammopathy, a clone of plasma cells leads to production of clones of immunoglobulins that are not functional as well as excess of free light chains (kappa or lambda). The ratio kappa / lambda is abnormal.


► Normal individuals: Low levels of free light chains can be found in serum.

► In serum, kappa FLC exists predominantly as monomer and lambda FLC as a dimer:

•Free Light Chains are filtered by kidneys in normal conditions. Kidneys can metabolize ≈ 30 times the production of Free Light Chains
•Renal filtration rate is different between kappa and lambda free light chains
•Serum kappa FLC concentrations are ≈ 50% lower

► Patients with monoclonal gammopathies (abnormal case): abnormal kappa / lambda FLC ratio due to the clonal secretion of a single FLC by malignant plasma cells.