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Blood Plasma is the clear, yellowish liquid portion of Blood that accounts for about 55% of its total volume. It is composed mostly of water, but also contains a variety of proteins, electrolytes, nutrients, hormones and waste products.
Blood Plasma plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being by transporting essential substances throughout the body, regulating pH balance and temperature and supporting the immune system and Blood clotting.
Functions of Blood Plasma
Functions of plasma can be divided into –
- Transport of Substances
- Maintenance of Blood Volume and Pressure
- PH Regulation
12 Important functions of Blood Plasma
Transport of Substances
One of the primary functions of Blood Plasma is to transport various substances throughout the body. They are as follows-
- Transport Nutrients
Blood Plasma transports a wide variety of nutrients, including glucose, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, from the digestive system and storage sites in the body to cells that need them for energy and other metabolic processes.
- Transport Waste products
Blood Plasma also carries away waste products produced by cells, such as carbon dioxide and urea, which are then eliminated from the body via the lungs and kidneys, respectively.
- Transport Hormones
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by various organs and tissues throughout the body that help regulate a wide variety of physiological processes. Blood Plasma serves as a key transport system for hormones, carrying them from their site of production to their target organs and tissues.
- Transport Electrolytes
Blood Plasma contains a variety of electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and calcium, which are essential for the proper functioning of nerves and muscles. These electrolytes are transported through the Plasma to maintain the proper balance of ions in the body’s fluids.
Maintenance of Blood Volume and Pressure
- Osmotic pressure
One of the key functions of Blood Plasma is to help maintain the osmotic pressure of the Blood. Osmotic pressure refers to the force that is created by the concentration of solutes, such as proteins and electrolytes, in the Blood Plasma. This pressure is essential for maintaining proper fluid balance between the Blood and the tissues and is regulated by the selective permeability of Blood vessels to water and other solutes.
- Blood clotting
Blood Plasma contains several proteins, such as fibrinogen, that are essential for the formation of Blood clots. When a Blood vessel is damaged, platelets in the Blood adhere to the site of injury and release chemicals that trigger the formation of a clot. Fibrinogen is then converted to fibrin, which forms a mesh that traps Blood cells and other components, helping to stem the flow of Blood and promote healing.
- Maintenance of Blood volume
Blood Plasma also plays a key role in maintaining the overall volume of the Blood. This is important because Blood volume helps to maintain Blood pressure, which is necessary for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. Blood Plasma helps to maintain Blood volume by regulating the balance of fluids and electrolytes in the Blood and by transporting nutrients and waste products throughout the body.
Blood Plasma contains antibodies, which are specialised proteins that recognize and bind to specific antigens, such as viruses and bacteria. Antibodies are produced by B cells, a type of white Blood cell and are transported through the Blood Plasma to target and neutralise pathogens.
- Complement proteins
Blood Plasma also contains complement proteins, which are a group of proteins that help to enhance the immune response by attracting immune cells to the site of infection, activating them and promoting the destruction of pathogens.
- Coagulation factors
Blood Plasma contains several proteins that are involved in the coagulation or clotting process, which is important for preventing the spread of infection. When a Blood vessel is damaged, platelets in the Blood adhere to the site of injury and release chemicals that trigger the formation of a clot. The coagulation factors in the Blood Plasma help to strengthen the clot and prevent further bleeding.
- Buffering capacity
Blood Plasma plays an important role in maintaining the pH balance of the body by acting as a buffer system. Buffers are substances that can absorb or release hydrogen ions (H+) to maintain a stable pH in a solution. Blood Plasma contains several buffering agents, such as bicarbonate ions, that help to regulate the acidity of the Blood and maintain a pH of around 7.4.
- Heat transfer
Blood Plasma also plays a role in thermoregulation, which is the process by which the body maintains a stable internal temperature. Blood Plasma helps to transfer heat from the core of the body to the skin, where it can be dissipated into the environment. This is accomplished through the circulation of Blood, which carries heat away from the core to the skin, where it can be lost through sweating and other mechanisms.
Also Check – Function of Platelets