What is the Function of Plasma?

Plasma – Definition

Plasma is a straw-coloured liquid component of the blood that is devoid of all the blood cells. It, however, contains proteins and other elements of blood. The other elements of the plasma include electrolytes, organic acids, amino acids, enzymes and hormones. The plasma makes up 55% of the total blood volume.

The protein constitution of the blood plasma is about 6-8%. It consists of clotting proteins such as fibrinogen. Other important proteins include serum albumin (secreted from the liver) and globulins and immunoglobulins (secreted from B-lymphocytes).

Functions of Plasma

Blood plasma is involved in a variety of functions. Let us look at them one by one.

  • The serum albumins found in the plasma help in maintaining the osmotic pressure of the blood and also maintains the consistency of blood.
  • The fibrinogen clotting protein is an important factor that clots the blood during the time of bleeding and prevents blood loss.
  • The globulins are important for mineral transport and preventing coagulation of blood. The immunoglobulins are important for immunity.
  • Plasma can be extracted from donated blood and then used in blood transfusions, mainly in the form of fresh frozen plasma.
  • Plasma also helps in the process of excretion by helping in the transport of waste products obtained by cellular metabolism to the lungs, liver and kidneys.
  • It acts as a medium for the blood cells and also maintains the blood pressure.
  • It helps in distributing heat throughout the body, thus maintaining a bodily homeostasis.
  • Biochemical testing of plasma helps in diagnosing diseases and monitoring treatments.
  • Plasma glucose levels are checked for conditions such as diabetes or hypoglycemia. Similarly, substances secreted by cancerous cells can be detected in plasma to find out asymptomatic cancers.
  • The electrolytes found in the plasma maintain an acid-base system in the body. For example, a little elevation in plasma potassium levels can lead to death.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is blood plasma made of?

The blood plasma is a straw coloured liquid component of blood that is made up of electrolytes, proteins, enzymes and hormones.

How is plasma different from blood?

Plasma is the liquid component of blood that is devoid of blood cells.

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