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Clin Chim Acta. 1975 Aug 18;63(1):61-7.

Albumin, transferrin and the thyroxine-binding prealbumin/retinol-binding protein (TBPA-RBP) complex in assessment of malnutrition.


A comparative study of the level of 4 plasma proteins in malnutrition shows that albumin has low sensitivity, transferrin has intermediate and the TBPA-RBP complex has the highes sensitivity to an alteration in the nutritional status. According to protein and/or iron deficiency, the synthesis of trnasferrin seems to be submitted to contradictory impulses which partially invalidates this test as a reliable index for estimating protein depletion alone. On the contrary, the components of the TBPA-RBP complex respond together and in a parallel direction to protein deficiency. The high degree of sensitivity of TBPA and RBP to an inadequate protein intake is apparently related to their rapid turnover rate and to their unusual richness in tryptophan, which is known to play a key role in the control of protein synthesis. Measurement of TBPA (or RBP) is proposed as a method for the detection of pre-kwashiorkor and early marasmus.

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