Heat Insoluble Cryoglobulin Associated with Gangrene in Multiple Myeloma

Amir Modarressi, Mercy Kuriyan, Gail Harvey, Roger Strair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Cryoglobulins are immunoglobulins that have tendency to precipitate in temperatures below 37°C and dissolve with rewarming. Monoclonal cryoglobulins are usually associated with a distinct hematological disorder and often are asymptomatic. Heat insoluble cryoglobulin has been described with Sjogren's syndrome and glomerulonephritis but, not with multiple myeloma. Severe sensitivity to cold occurs with high thermal insolubility of the cryoprotein, with dramatic symptoms when exposed to minimal lowering of the temperature. We report a case of a 49 year old man with multiple myeloma and an unusual type I cryoglobulin that caused occlusive gangrene. The cryoglobulin appeared as a milky white precipitate that was resistant to re-suspension and did not dissolve at 37°C. Immunoelectrophoresis of the cryoglobulin, which dissolved at 56°C, showed it to be composed of a monoclonal IgG kappa protein (3.5 g/dl). Unlike most high thermal insoluble cryoglobulin, cold associated symptoms were not seen. In addition to steroids, plasmapheresis was initiated thrice a week with albumin fluid replacement. Plasmapheresis caused a marked decline in cryocrit levels from 21% to less than 0.5% in 9 days after 4 procedures with resolution of the gangrene of the feet and after 6 treatments, vasculitic symptoms improved dramatically. The cryoglobulin test was negative 2 weeks after initiation of treatment. The patient was treated for the myeloma and there was no recurrence of occlusive symptoms. Proper laboratory procedure and careful examination and handling of cryoglobulinemic samples facilitate detection of unusual cryoglobulins. This is a unique report of multiple myeloma with gangrene of lower extremities that has a heat insoluble cryoglobulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-193
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Apheresis
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hematology


  • Heat insoluble cryoglobulin
  • Multiple myeloma


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