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Serum albumin, often referred to simply as albumin, is the most abundant plasma protein in humans and other mammals. Albumin is essential for maintaining the osmotic pressure needed for proper distribution of body fluids between intravascular compartments and body tissues. It also acts as a plasma carrier by non-specifically binding several hydrophobic steroid hormones and as a transport protein for hemin and fatty acids.
Additional recommended knowledge
Albumin is negatively charged. The glomerular basement membrane is also negatively charged; some studies suggest that this prevents the filtration of albumin in the urine. According to this theory, that charge plays a major role in the selective exclusion of albumin from the glomerular filtrate. A defect in this property results in nephrotic syndrome leading to albumin loss in the urine. Nephrotic syndrome patients are sometimes given albumin to replace the lost albumin.
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.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Serum_albumin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|