Preabumin is an important blood protein manufactured primarily by the liver. Its role is to transport thyroxine (the main thyroid hormone) and vitamin A throughout the body. The synthesis of prealbumin depends directly on the proper functioning of the liver and the recent intake of protein and calories through diet. Prealbumin blood levels change rapidly (half-life of 2 days) and their measurement is most useful in assessing the recent protein-calorie intake of individuals with specific nutritional problems (chronic patients, hemodialysis patients or parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding)). Prealbumin levels can also be modified in response to inflammation, infection or other disorders. These situations may interfere with the interpretation of the results. The results are expressed in milligrams of prealbumin per litre of blood (mg/L).
Lower levels of prealbumin can result from malnutrition, any severe and chronic disease, inflammation, trauma such as burns, hyperthyroidism, liver disease, major infections and certain digestive diseases. High levels of prealbumin may be found in individuals with hyperactive adrenal drugs or treated with high doses of corticoids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.