Causes and Effects Of High Protein In Liver

Liver is the largest organ in the body. It weighs around 1.5 kg in adults. It is located in right upper quadrant of the abdomen under the cover of right ribs. It plays vital role in various bodily functions. For example it is concerned with majority of metabolic functions, it aids in digestion of food as it secretes bile, and it filters various toxins from the circulating blood.

Since many toxins pass through liver and are filtered out, liver is susceptible to get damaged. The most perfect example is that of chronic alcoholism which is responsible for liver cirrhosis. When liver is damaged or malfunctioning, it leads to imbalance in secretion of enzymes and plasma protein. Proteins present in blood plasma such as albumin, globulin, alfa 1- antitrypsin, haptoglobin, transferrin, and prothrobin are produced by the hepatic cells. High or low protein can be detected with certain blood test.

Causes of high protein in liver:

Normally there two types of protein, namely albumin and globulin circulating in blood that is measured with blood test. Their ratio can also be detected in the blood test. Albumin is produced in liver and it circulates in the blood.

Albumin facilitates easy transportation of molecules present in blood to body cells. It also balances and maintains fluidity in blood. Globulin secreted by liver is used to support antibodies and clotting mechanism in the blood. Certain diseases can lead to either high protein level or low protein. Since albumin is abundant in blood it is more than globulin in ratio.

In a healthy individual the protein level is between 6 to 8 gm/deciliter. Conditions that cause rise in level of liver protein are as follows:

  • Viral infection such as hepatitis. Hepatitis B, C, can lead to abnormal level of protein in blood. It is due to inflammatory process in the liver.
  • Dehydration markedly increases level of liver protein. Blood contains water. When water is depleted there is concentration of blood components which also includes albumin and globulin level.
  • HIV and AIDS raise level of albumin and globulin.
  • Diseases such as multiple myeloma. It is a type of bone marrow cancer.
  • In leukemia the ration between albumin and globulin in increased.

Certain diseases and conditions can also lower liver protein. It usually occurs in liver diseases or kidney disease. Low protein level is also seen in people who are malnourished since long time. People whose intake of protein is less may have low serum protein. Problem also occurs when food is not absorbed due to gastrointestinal diseases as in case of IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome). Physical injury such as burn can lower serum albumin level. Albumin level is found to be low in chronic liver disease such as cirrhosis of liver. When kidney is not functioning well albumin patient often has low protein level. Low protein leads to edema in legs and abdomen. Abdominal accumulation of fluid in the peritoneum is called ascitis.

High liver protein or low protein level is not a disease but it is a laboratory test that helps in revealing diseased condition.