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Specific antioxidant properties of human serum albumin

Myriam Taverna12*, Anne-Lise Marie12, Jean-Paul Mira345 and Bertrand Guidet678

Author Affiliations

1 Université Paris Sud - Faculté de Pharmacie, 92290, Châtenay-Malabry, France

2 CNRS UMR 8612, Institut Galien Paris Sud, 92290, Châtenay-Malabry, France

3 Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire Cochin-Broca-Hôtel Dieu, Medical Intensive Care Unit, 75014, Paris, France

4 Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Faculté de Médecine, 75006, Paris, France

5 Cochin Institute, INSERM U1016/CNRS UMR 8104, 75014, Paris, France

6 Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Saint-Antoine, Medical Intensive Care Unit, 75012, Paris, France

7 Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris 6, 75005, Paris, France

8 INSERM, Unité de Recherche en Épidémiologie Systèmes d’Information et Modélisation (U707), 75012, Paris, France

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Annals of Intensive Care 2013, 3:4  doi:10.1186/2110-5820-3-4

Published: 15 February 2013


Human serum albumin (HSA) has been used for a long time as a resuscitation fluid in critically ill patients. It is known to exert several important physiological and pharmacological functions. Among them, the antioxidant properties seem to be of paramount importance as they may be implied in the potential beneficial effects that have been observed in the critical care and hepatological settings. The specific antioxidant functions of the protein are closely related to its structure. Indeed, they are due to its multiple ligand-binding capacities and free radical-trapping properties. The HSA molecule can undergo various structural changes modifying its conformation and hence its binding properties and redox state. Such chemical modifications can occur during bioprocesses and storage conditions of the commercial HSA solutions, resulting in heterogeneous solutions for infusion. In this review, we explore the mechanisms that are responsible for the specific antioxidant properties of HSA in its native form, chemically modified forms, and commercial formulations. To conclude, we discuss the implication of this recent literature for future clinical trials using albumin as a drug and for elucidating the effects of HSA infusion in critically ill patients.

Human serum albumin; Antioxidant force; Oxidized albumin; Critically ill patients