α2 Macroglobulin (A2M) belongs to the α2-globulin family of human plasma proteins and functions as an inhibitor of all types of proteases. A2M has an anti-inflammatory effect by inactivating various proteases associated with cartilage loss and degenerative joint disease. It is also a versatile transport protein, exhibiting a binding affinity for hormones, enzymes, and the mineral zinc. A2M is involved in the development of the lymphatic system and plays a role in fibrinolysis. It is also known to promote the growth of mammalian cells in culture and stimulate the regeneration of lymphocytes in mice. Elevated serum levels of A2M are associated with liver cirrhosis, nephritic syndrome, and diabetes. Low levels are associated with acute pancreatitis, fibrinolysis, and liver disease.
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