Review article: albumin as a drug—biological effects of albumin unrelated to oncotic pressure

Authors

  • T. W. Evans

    1. Department of Intensive Care Medicine, Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine, Clinical Director of ICU, Royal Brompton Hospital, London
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Correspondence to: Professor T. W. Evans, Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK.
E-mail: t.evans@rbh.nthames.nhs.uk

Summary

Albumin is the main determinant of plasma oncotic pressure and it plays a pivotal role in modulating the distribution of fluids between compartments. Moreover, it has many other biological properties which may be important not only for its physiological actions but also for its therapeutic effects. Among the non-oncotic properties are its capacity of molecule transportation and free radical scavenging, its ability to modulate capillar permeability, neutrophil adhesion and activation and its haemostatic effects. The following article reviews these biological effects as well as its structure, synthesis, catabolism and distribution.

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