AskDefine | Define albumin

Dictionary Definition

albumin n : a simple water-soluble protein found in many animal tissues and liquids [syn: albumen]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A class of monomeric proteins that are soluble in water, and are coagulated by heat; they occur in egg white, milk etc; they function as carrier protein for steroids, fatty acids, and thyroid hormones and play a role in stabilizing extracellular fluid volume


a class of monomeric proteins that are soluble in water, and are coagulated by heat

Extensive Definition

Albumin (Latin: albus, white) refers generally to any protein with water solubility, which is moderately soluble in concentrated salt solutions, and experiences heat coagulation (protein denaturation). Substances containing albumin, such as egg white, are called albuminoids.


Serum albumin

The most well-known type of albumin is the serum albumin in the blood.
Serum albumin is the most abundant blood plasma protein and is produced in the liver and forms a large proportion of all plasma protein. The human version is human serum albumin, and it normally constitutes about 60% of human plasma protein; all other proteins present in blood plasma are referred to collectively as globulins.
Serum albumins are important in regulating blood volume by maintaining the osmotic pressure of the blood compartment. They also serve as carriers for molecules of low water solubility, including lipid soluble hormones, bile salts, bilirubin, free fatty acids (apoprotein), calcium, iron (transferrin), and some drugs. Competition between drugs for albumin binding sites may cause drug interaction by increasing the free fraction of one of the drugs, thereby affecting potency.
Specific types include:
Low albumin (hypoalbuminaemia) may be caused by liver disease, nephrotic syndrome, burns, protein-losing enteropathy, malabsorption, malnutrition, late pregnancy, artefact, posture, genetic variations and malignancy. High albumin is either caused by dehydration or artefact.
Normal range of human serum albumin in adults (> 3 y.o.) is 3.5 to 5 g/dL. For children less than three years of age, the normal range is broader, 2.5-5.5 g/dL.

Other types

Other types include the storage protein ovalbumin in egg white, and different storage albumins in the seeds of some plants. Note that albumin is spelled with an "i" while "albumen" with an "e" is the white of an egg, the part of the egg from which meringues are made. "Albus" in Latin is white.


External links

See also

albumin in Bulgarian: Албумин
albumin in Lithuanian: Albuminas
albumin in Macedonian: Албумин
albumin in Dutch: Albumine
albumin in Slovenian: Albumin
albumin in Tamil: வெண்ணி (புரதம்)
albumin in Russian: Альбумины
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