Fetuin-A: a multifunctional protein

Recent Pat Endocr Metab Immune Drug Discov. 2011 May;5(2):124-46. doi: 10.2174/187221411799015372.


Sixty-six years have elapsed since the discovery of fetuin in 1944, but its importance in mammalian physiology has only recently been appreciated. Fetuin, first isolated from fetal bovine serum and now most commonly known as either fetuin-A, alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein (recommended name by UniprotKB and PIR), or α2-Heremans-Schmid glycoprotein, functions as an important component of diverse normal and pathological processes, including vascular calcification and bone metabolism regulation, insulin resistance, protease activity control, keratinocytes migration, and breast tumor cell proliferative signaling. Fetuin-A has also been identified as a biomarker for neurodegenerative disease. Here, we summarize recent publications focusing on the structural and functional properties of fetuin-A. The emerging importance of fetuin-A for both diagnosis and therapeutics has come to the attention of the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, we will discuss the status of patents based on fetuin-A.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Biomarkers*
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Brain Infarction / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / embryology
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Vascular Calcification / metabolism
  • alpha-2-HS-Glycoprotein* / chemistry
  • alpha-2-HS-Glycoprotein* / genetics
  • alpha-2-HS-Glycoprotein* / physiology
  • alpha-2-HS-Glycoprotein* / therapeutic use


  • Biomarkers
  • Insulin
  • alpha-2-HS-Glycoprotein