The only established function of ORM is to act as a carrier of basic and neutrally charged lipophilic compounds. In medicine, it is known as the primary carrier of basic (positively charged) drugs (whereas albumin carries acidic (negatively charged) and neutral drugs), steroids, and protease inhibitors. Aging causes a small decrease in plasma albumin levels; if anything, there is a small increase in alpha-1-acid glycoprotein. The effect of these changes on drug protein binding and drug delivery, however, appear to be minimal. AGP shows a complex interaction with thyroid homeostasis: ORM in low concentrations was observed to stimulate the thyrotropin (TSH) receptor and intracellular accumulation of cyclic AMP. High AGP concentrations, however, inhibited TSH signalling.
Alpha-1-acid glycoprotein has been identified as one of four potentially useful circulating biomarkers for estimating the five-year risk of all-cause mortality (the other three are albumin, very low-density lipoprotein particle size, and citrate).
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^Fischer, Kettunen, Würtz; et al. (2014). "Biomarker Profiling by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for the Prediction of All-Cause Mortality: An Observational Study of 17,345 Persons". PLoS Medicine11 (2): e1001606. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001606.