Human serum albumin (HSA) plays a very important role in the human body and is used in many clinical cases. Because of the problems associated with its extraction researchers have been working on new methods of creating it. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the latest results of research on transgenic rice seeds from which HSA was isolated.
Albumins are soluble proteins produced in the liver and they are the most abundant proteins in human blood plasma. The most important function of albumins is maintaining oncotic pressure of blood plasma due to their ability to bind water. They fulfill the role of transport proteins and are used in drugs and vaccines production.
Albumin are used in many clinical cases. Human albumin solution are produced in concentrations of 5% and 20%. Solutions at concentrations of 5%, which have the same oncotic pressure as the blood plasma, are used in treating patients with oligovolemic shock, burns, and severe protein deficiency. Solutions at concentrations of 20% are used in cerebral edema and severe hypoalbuminemia with edemas and ascites.
The primary source of HSA is donated human blood, though, the scientists have been working on finding a new source of HSA. It is due to the blood shortages and the possibility of infectious disease occurrence after the blood products transfusion, even if procedures of removing infectious agents were performed. One of the scientists is Daichang Yang, biotechnologist from Wuhan University in China.
The main objectives of the research are to increase efficiency, reduce costs and minimize the risk of immune reaction.
In order to obtain HSA from rice seeds the researchers inserted the gene encoding HSA into rice plants in such a way, that the gene was activated during seeds production and the protein was stored in the rice grain. As a result of research the researchers got one of the best yields to date. HSA made up more than 10 % of seeds’ total soluble protein.
HSA from the rice turned out to be the functionally equivalent of albumin from blood plasma. Both types of HSA were chemically and physically identical. Research conducted on rats with liver disease proved equally effective of both types of albumin in relieving symptoms associated with cirrhosis. Moreover, there wasn’t stronger immune reaction in rats that were given HSA from rice seeds than in rats that were given HSA from blood plasma.
Written by: Paulina Dzięga
4. Maj S.: Farmakologia krwi i układu krwiotwórczego. Preparaty krwi. Leki krwiozastępcze. Wydawnictwo Lekarskie PZWL. Warszawa 2008
Want to know about albumin? Watch on medtube.net: Blood Pressure Regulation (Part 1/2)