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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Dec;1830(12):5435-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 May 10.

Albumin-drug interaction and its clinical implication.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sojo University, 4-22-1 Ikeda, Kumamoto 860-0082, Japan; DDS Research Institute, Sojo University, 4-22-1 Ikeda, Kumamoto 860-0082, Japan.



Human serum albumin acts as a reservoir and transport protein for endogenous (e.g. fatty acids or bilirubin) and exogenous compounds (e.g. drugs or nutrients) in the blood. The binding of a drug to albumin is a major determinant of its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile.


The present review discusses recent findings regarding the nature of drug binding sites, drug-albumin binding in certain diseased states or in the presence of coadministered drugs, and the potential of utilizing albumin-drug interactions in clinical applications.


Drug-albumin interactions appear to predominantly occur at one or two specific binding sites. The nature of these drug binding sites has been fundamentally investigated as to location, size, charge, hydrophobicity or changes that can occur under conditions such as the content of the endogenous substances in question. Such findings can be useful tools for the analysis of drug-drug interactions or protein binding in diseased states. A change in protein binding is not always a problem in terms of drug therapy, but it can be used to enhance the efficacy of therapeutic agents or to enhance the accumulation of radiopharmaceuticals to targets for diagnostic purposes. Furthermore, several extracorporeal dialysis procedures using albumin-containing dialysates have proven to be an effective tool for removing endogenous toxins or overdosed drugs from patients.


Recent findings related to albumin-drug interactions as described in this review are useful for providing safer and efficient therapies and diagnoses in clinical settings. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Serum Albumin.


6-MNA; 6-methoxy naphthalene acetic acid; Binding site; CYP; Displacement; Extracorporeal albumin dialysis; HSA; Human serum albumin; Structure–function relationship; cytochrome P450; human serum albumin

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