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Albumin

Albumin is a blood plasma protein that is produced in the liver and forms a large proportion of all plasma protein.

The normal range of albumin concentrations in human blood is 3.5 to 5.0 g/dL, and albumin normally constitutes about 60% of plasma protein; all other proteins present in blood plasma are referred to collectively as globulin[?]. Albumin is essential for maintaining the oncotic pressure needed for proper distribution of body fluids[?] between intravascular compartments and body tissues.

Because smaller animals, (for example rats,) function at a lower blood pressure, they need less oncotic pressure to balance this, and thus need less albumin to maintain proper fluid distribution.

Functions of albumin:

  • Maintains oncotic pressure
  • Transports thyroid hormones
  • Transports other hormones, particularly fat soluble ones
  • Transports unconjugated bilirubin
  • Transports many drugs
  • Competitively binds calcium ions (Ca++)
  • Buffers pH

Causes of albumin deficiency:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver (most commonly).
  • Decreased production (e.g. starvation).
  • Excess excretion by the kidneys (such as in nephrotic syndrome[?]).
  • Excess loss in bowel (protein losing enteropathy).



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