Transthyretin (also known as prealbumin) is an important transport protein, which plays an essential role in the binding of thyroid hormones and retinol with varying affinities in mammalian, as well as avian species. The determination of transthyretin concentrations may be used as a diagnostic tool for some disease conditions in humans, but is more often used as a nutritional marker to assess protein-calorie malnutrition and as prognostic indicator in critically ill patients. Transthyretin has shorter half-life (2–3 days) than that of albumin and belongs to negative acute phase proteins. This may complicate the use of transthyretin as a nutritional marker and the interpretation of results in the diagnosis of diseases. Although some studies have been carried out to determine the usefulness of transthyretin in selected disease conditions and disorders also in animals, it is a relatively rarely used parameter to evaluate health state and illness in veterinary medicine. The usefulness of transthyretin in the diagnosis of diseases and evaluation of nutritional status in humans and animals are reviewed in this article, including the laboratory assays available to measure its concentrations and the possible clinical application of the results, as well as its usefulness as a prognostic indicator in some disease conditions.
Part of the book: Pathophysiology
Although hundreds of proteins exist in blood serum, little is known about the precise composition and entire set of serum proteins in different ruminant species. Under physiological conditions, the production of serum proteins is closely regulated, but alterations in the serum protein pattern may occur in a wide range of diseases and health disorders. During the last several years, substantial progress was seen in the application of serum protein analyses for diagnostic purposes. The serum protein profile is mostly evaluated by serum protein electrophoresis, which allows the identification of protein fractions, each being composed of several individual proteins with similar electrophoretic mobility. Many disease processes can cause changes in the concentrations of serum proteins. Therefore, the determination of their concentrations and the evaluation of changes in their concentrations during the disease process may provide important diagnostic information for assessing the health state. Despite this usefulness, the evaluation of serum protein pattern is still relatively a less frequently used laboratory diagnostic technique in ruminant medicine. Thus, the usefulness of serum proteins in the diagnosis of health disorders and the possible clinical application of the results of the electrophoretic separation of serum proteins in ruminants will be reviewed in this chapter.
Part of the book: Ruminants