Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2000 Oct 18;1482(1-2):157-71. doi: 10.1016/s0167-4838(00)00153-9.


Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) or orosomucoid (ORM) is a 41-43-kDa glycoprotein with a pI of 2.8-3.8. The peptide moiety is a single chain of 183 amino acids (human) or 187 amino acids (rat) with two and one disulfide bridges in humans and rats,respectively. The carbohydrate content represents 45% of the molecular weight attached in the form of five to six highly sialylated complex-type-N-linked glycans. AGP is one of the major acute phase proteins in humans, rats, mice and other species. As most acute phase proteins, its serum concentration increases in response to systemic tissue injury, inflammation or infection, and these changes in serum protein concentrations have been correlated with increases in hepatic synthesis. Expression of the AGP gene is controlled by a combination of the major regulatory mediators, i.e. glucocorticoids and a cytokine network involving mainly interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha), interleukin-6 and IL-6 related cytokines. It is now well established that the acute phase response may take place in extra-hepatic cell types, and may be regulated by inflammatory mediators as observed in hepatocytes. The biological function of AGP remains unknown; however,a number of activities of possible physiological significance, such as various immunomodulating effects, have been described. AGP also has the ability to bind and to carry numerous basic and neutral lipophilic drugs from endogenous (steroid hormones) and exogenous origin; one to seven binding sites have been described. AGP can also bind acidic drugs such as phenobarbital. The immunomodulatory as well as the binding activities of AGP have been shown to be mostly dependent on carbohydrate composition. Finally, the use of AGP transgenic animals enabled to address in vivo, functionality of responsive elements and tissue specificity, as well as the effects of drugs that bind to AGP and will be an useful tool to determine the physiological role of AGP.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / physiology
  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Orosomucoid / chemistry
  • Orosomucoid / genetics*
  • Orosomucoid / metabolism*
  • Orosomucoid / physiology
  • Protein Conformation
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Orosomucoid