Retinol Binding Protein
Retinol binding protein or simply RBP refers to a proteins’ family that has different functions. These proteins act as the carrier proteins whose role is to bind retinal. Assessment of the retinal binding protein is usually used in determining the mass of visceral protein in nutritional studies that are related to health matters.
Retinoic acid and retinol play significant roles in gene expression modulation and the overall embryo development. However, excess or deficit of retinoic acid or retinol can cause developmental malformations or early mortality of an embryo. Regulation of the metabolism and transport of retinol that is necessary for the successful pregnancy is usually accomplished through retinol binding protein.
Retinol binding protein has been identified in the embryo, extra embryonic tissue of bovine, uterus, porcine and ovine. This is a clear indication of the crucial role that is played by proper exposure of retinol to embryo as well as successful transportation during maternal-fetal interface. However, additional research needs to be done to determine exact effects of the poor expression of retinol binding protein on pregnancy as well as the threshold levels of the said expression.
Retinol binding protein is mostly synthesized in the liver. However, there are indications that this protein can be synthesized in peritubular, sertoli cells of testis, epithelium of the retinal pigment, and kidneys before it is circulated to the rest of the body via the blood stream. Retinol binding protein is not found alone in blood. However, it is filtrated easily due to its small weight molecules.
Retinol is also a fast-soluble vitamin that plays a significant role in the maintenance of normal development and growth, reproduction, immunity and vision among other crucial physiological processes. Retinal can be supplied to the body through diet and nutrition. RBP7, RBP5, RBP2 and RBP1 are cellular. RBP is linked interstitially while RBP4 occurs in the blood plasma. Although each of these retinol binding proteins differ slightly they are all alike sufficiently such that it is possible to study all of them by simply focusing on one. Many studies focus on RBP4 due to the fact that it is the most studied and extensively understood.
Despite being identified in placental tissues of bovine and ovine which suggests the high involvement of RBP in the retinal metabolism and transport during pregnancy, exact timing of the expression has not been identified yet. This implies that further studies on retinol binding protein need to be done.
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