Human blood is represented by 2 components: liquid base or plasma and cellular elements. What is plasma and what is its composition? What is the functional purpose of plasma? Let’s look at everything in order.
All about plasma
Plasma is a liquid formed by water and solids. It makes up the bulk of the blood – about 60%. Thanks to plasma, the blood has a fluid state. Although, in terms of physical parameters (density), plasma is heavier than water.
Macroscopically, plasma is a transparent (sometimes cloudy) homogeneous liquid of light yellow color. It collects in the upper section of the vessels when the shaped elements settle. Histological analysis shows that plasma is the intercellular substance of the liquid part of the blood.
Plasma becomes cloudy after a person eats fatty foods.
What is plasma made of?
Plasma composition is presented:
- With water,
- Salts and organic substances.
Plasma water content is about 90%. Salts and organic compounds include:
- Amino acids,
- Enzyme substances,
- Minerals (ions Na, Cl).
What percentage of plasma volume is protein?
It is the most abundant component of plasma, it occupies 8% of the total plasma. Plasma contains proteins of various fractions.
The main ones are:
- Albumin (5%),
- Globulins (3%),
- Fibrinogen (belongs to globulins, 0,4%).
Composition and tasks of non-protein compounds in plasma
- Organic compounds based on nitrogen. Representatives: uric acid, bilirubin, creatine. An increase in the amount of nitrogen signals the development of a azotomy. This condition occurs due to problems with urine excretion of metabolic products or due to the active destruction of protein and the intake of a large amount of nitrogenous substances into the body. The latter case is typical for diabetes mellitus, starvation, burns.
- Nitrogen-free organic compounds. This includes cholesterol, glucose, lactic acid. They are also accompanied by lipids. All these components must be monitored, as they are necessary to maintain full life.
- Inorganic substances (Ca, Mg). The Na and Cl ions are responsible for maintaining a constant blood Ph. They also monitor osmotic pressure. Ca ions take part in muscle contraction and stimulate the sensitivity of nerve cells.
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Plasma albumin is the main component (over 50%). It has a low molecular weight. The place of formation of this protein is the liver.
Purpose of albumin:
- Transfers fatty acids, bilirubin, drugs, hormones.
- Takes part in metabolism and protein formation.
- Reserves amino acids.
- Forms oncotic pressure.
By the amount of albumin, doctors judge the state of the liver. If the content of albumin in plasma is reduced, then this indicates the development of pathology. Low levels of this plasma protein in children increase the risk of developing jaundice.
Globulins are represented by large molecular compounds. They are produced by the liver, spleen, thymus.
There are several types of globulins:
- α – globulins. They interact with thyroxine and bilirubin, binding them. They catalyze the formation of proteins. They are responsible for the transport of hormones, vitamins, lipids.
- β – globulins. These proteins bind vitamins, Fe, cholesterol. They transfer cations Fe, Zn, steroid hormones, sterols, phospholipids.
- γ – globulins. Antibodies or immunoglobulins bind histamine and take part in protective immune responses. They are produced by the liver, lymphatic tissue, bone marrow, and spleen.
There are 5 classes of γ – globulins:
- IgG (about 80% of all antibodies). It is characterized by high avidity (ratio of antibody to antigen). Can penetrate the placental barrier.
- IgM is the first immunoglobulin that is formed in a future baby. The protein is highly avidity. It is the first to be found in the blood after vaccination.
Fibrinogen is a soluble plasma protein. It is synthesized by the liver. Under the influence of thrombin, the protein is converted into fibrin – an insoluble form of fibrinogen. Thanks to fibrin in places where the integrity of the vessels has been compromised, a blood clot forms.
Other proteins and functions
Minor fractions of plasma proteins after globulins and albumin:
- Immune proteins
- C-reactive protein,
- Thyroxine-binding globulin,
The tasks of these and other plasma proteins are reduced to:
- Maintaining homeostasis and blood aggregation,
- Control over immune responses,
- Transportation of nutrients,
- Activation of the blood clotting process.
Plasma functions and tasks
What does the human body need plasma for?
Its functions are varied, but basically they boil down to 3 main ones:
- Transportation of blood cells, nutrients.
- Communication between all body fluids that are located outside the circulatory system. This function is possible due to the ability of plasma to penetrate the vascular walls.
- Providing hemostasis. This implies control over the fluid, which stops during bleeding and remove the formed blood clot.
Plasma use in donation
Today, whole blood is not transfused: for therapeutic purposes, plasma and uniform components are separately isolated.
At blood donation points, blood is most often donated for plasma.
Blood plasma system
How do I get plasma?
Plasma is obtained from blood by centrifugation. The method allows you to separate plasma from cellular elements using a special apparatus without damaging them. The blood cells are returned to the donor.
The plasma donation procedure has a number of advantages over simple blood donation:
- The volume of blood loss is less, which means that less harm is done to health.
- Blood for plasma can be donated again after 2 weeks.
There are restrictions on the delivery of plasma. Thus, a donor can donate plasma no more than 12 times a year.
Plasma delivery takes no more than 40 minutes.
Plasma is the source of such an important material as blood serum. Serum is the same plasma, but without fibrinogen, but with the same set of antibodies. It is they who fight the causative agents of various diseases. Immunoglobulins contribute to the early development of passive immunity.
To obtain blood serum, sterile blood is placed in a thermostat for 1 hour. Next, the resulting blood clot is peeled from the walls of the test tube and determined in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The resulting liquid is added to a sterile vessel using a Pasteur pipette.
Blood pathologies affecting the nature of plasma
In medicine, several diseases are distinguished that can affect the composition of plasma. All of them pose a threat to human health and life.
The main ones are:
- Hemophilia. This is a hereditary pathology, when there is a lack of protein, which is responsible for coagulation.
- Blood poisoning or sepsis. A phenomenon that occurs due to the ingress of infection directly into the bloodstream.
- DIC syndrome. A pathological condition caused by shock, sepsis, severe damage. It is characterized by disorders of blood coagulation, which simultaneously lead to bleeding and the formation of blood clots in small vessels.
- Deep venous thrombosis. With the disease, blood clots form in the deep veins (mainly on the lower extremities).
- Hypercoagulation. Patients are diagnosed with excessively high blood clotting. The viscosity of the latter increases.
Plasmotest or Wasserman reaction is a study that detects the presence of antibodies in plasma to pale treponema. By this reaction, syphilis is calculated, as well as the effectiveness of its treatment.
Plasma is a liquid with a complex composition that plays an important role in human life. She is responsible for immunity, blood clotting, homeostasis.