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Prealbumin, Serum

Prealbumin (PAB), also known as transthyretin (TTR), is a protein primarily produced by the liver and is involved in the transport of thyroid hormones and the binding of retinol. Prealbumin gets its name because it migrates faster than another blood protein, albumin, when subjected to electrophoresis. Measurement of prealbumin is used for assessing nutritional status, especially in monitoring the response to nutritional support in the acutely ill patient.

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Prealbumin plays a role in transporting thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), through the bloodstream. These hormones are essential for regulating the body's metabolism.

Prealbumin also binds to retinol (vitamin A) in the blood, helping to transport it to various tissues where it is needed.

Prealbumin levels in the blood are often used as a marker of nutritional status and protein synthesis in the body. Low levels of prealbumin can be indicative of malnutrition or protein deficiency. Prealbumin levels are monitored, particularly in patients who are at risk of malnutrition or in those who are recovering from surgery, illness, or injury. Changes in prealbumin levels can be used to assess a patient's nutritional status and response to treatment.

Prealbumin has a relatively short half-life in the bloodstream, which means that its levels can change relatively quickly in response to various physiological changes.

Prealbumin is produced by the liver, so liver dysfunction or disease can affect its levels. It is also filtered by the kidneys, so kidney problems can influence its blood levels.

Prealbumin is just one of many markers used to assess nutritional status, and its interpretation should be done in the context of a comprehensive clinical evaluation. In some cases, other markers like albumin, total protein, and clinical assessment of dietary intake are used in conjunction with prealbumin levels to provide a more accurate picture of a patient's nutritional status.

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