How Does Plasma Aid the Body?

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Transportation

  • Plasma makes up more than half of the blood supply in our bodies. Plasma is over 90% water, 6 to 8% proteins, and 2 to 4% salts, lipids and glucose. Plasma has several important functions including dissolving materials, participating in immune defense and delivering substances to tissues for growth and survival. Of all these roles the primary function of plasma is transport; plasma is constantly moving water, nutrients and waste to and from cells. Because plasma is mostly water, an excellent solvent, a wide variety of substances can dissolve easily into plasma. Plasma carries salts, sugars such as glucose, amino acids, cholesterol, hormones and waste throughout the body to and from body tissues. These solvent and transportation duties are vital to human health. Loss of large volumes of plasma, as in the case of severe burn injuries, requires administration of human plasma to aid in recovery.

Function of the Plasma Proteins

  • Plasma contains proteins that are essential to immune function, specialized transportation and pressure maintenance within the circulatory system. The most plentiful of the blood plasma proteins is the protein albumin. Albumin aids the body by binding specific molecules for transport such as hormones, fatty acids, medications, bilirubin and calcium ions. Albumin also assists with maintaining blood pressure by preventing large amounts of water from moving out of the blood and into the fluid between cells. Additional proteins in the plasma called globulins also participate in specialized transport as well as immune protection.

    There are three types of globulins, alpha globulins which transport thyroxine and Vitamin D, beta globulins which transport iron and gamma globulins which are also known as antibodies. Antibodies bind to foreign materials in the blood stream and mark them for destruction by the immune system.

Funciton of the Lipids in Plasma

  • Plasma contains proteins that are essential to immune function, specialized transportation and pressure maintenance within the circulatory system. The most plentiful of the blood plasma proteins is the protein albumin. Albumin aids the body by binding specific molecules for transport such as hormones, fatty acids, medications, bilirubin and calcium ions. Albumin also assists with maintaining blood pressure by preventing large amounts of water from moving out of the blood and into the fluid between cells.

    Additional proteins in the plasma called globulins also participate in specialized transport as well as immune protection. There are three types of globulins, alpha globulins which transport thyroxine and Vitamin D, beta globulins which transport iron and gamma globulins which are also known as antibodies. Antibodies bind to foreign materials in the blood stream and mark them for destruction by the immune system. The plasma also contains proteins called fibrin, which function in the clotting of blood. Plasma collected from donors is often used to make clotting drugs for individuals with the bleeding disorder hemophilia.

  • Photo Credit stock_xchng - blood (stock photo by combinat) [id 146321]
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