Haptoglobin is a protein produced by the liver and it helps bind with hemoglobin, which is a protein found in red blood cells. It not only binds but it’s also an antioxidant for the body. Liver is the primary site for where this HP synthesis occurs. However, it’s something that’s also detected in other organs around the body.
Haptoglobin has two alpha and two beta chains. These are connected by disulfide bridges. The genotypes of HP found in humans are Hp1-1, Hp2-1, and Hp2-2. The protein is mostly produced by hepatic cells but there are other tissues like the lung, kidney and skin that produce it too. It’s something that has been shown to be in the adipose tissue of cattle too.
In other species, HP has been found in all mammals so far. It is, however, absent to some amphibians and birds like chicken and goose.
This protein plays an influential role in the support of the body’s oxygen but it can also cause problems by being elevated if there are inflammatory diseases within the body. When it comes to mutations in this gene, it can be linked to various diseases including Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s.
The Haptoglobin levels when decreased could indicate liver damage due to the liver not producing enough haptoglobin. There are also studies that link certain HPs to schizophrenia.
Haptoglobin phenotypes will differ when it comes to their antioxidant and immunomodulatory properties As such, it may affect immune suppressed conditions and the susceptibility levels towards an individual’s bacterial infections.