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Chem Phys Lipids. 2002 Jan;114(1):21-34.

Component-specific surface and physiological activity in bovine-derived lung surfactants.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics (Neonatology, Box 777), University of Rochester School of Medicine, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Composition, surface activity and effects on pressure-volume (P-V) mechanics are examined for lavaged calf lung surfactant (LS) and the clinical exogenous surfactants Infasurf and Survanta. Lavaged LS and Infasurf had closely-matching compositions of phospholipids and neutral lipids. Survanta had higher levels of free fatty acids and triglycerides consistent with its content of added synthetic palmitic acid and tripalmitin. Infasurf and Survanta both contained less total protein than LS because of extraction with hydrophobic solvents, but the total protein content relative to phospholipid in Survanta was about 45% lower than in Infasurf. This difference was primarily due to surfactant protein (SP)-B, which was present by ELISA at a mean weight percent relative to phospholipid of 1.04% in LS, 0.90% in Infasurf, and 0.044% in Survanta. Studies on component fractions separated by gel permeation chromatography showed that SP-B was a major contributor to the adsorption, dynamic surface activity, and P-V mechanical effects of Infasurf, which approached whole LS in magnitude. Survanta had lower adsorption, higher minimum surface tension, and a smaller effect on surfactant-deficient P-V mechanics consistent with minimal contributions from SP-B. Addition of 0.05% by weight of purified bovine SP-B to Survanta did not improve surface or physiological activity, but added 0.7% SP-B improved adsorption, dynamic surface tension lowering, and P-V activity to levels similar to Infasurf. The SP-B content of lung surfactants appears to be a crucial factor in their surface activity and efficacy in improving surfactant-deficient pulmonary P-V mechanics.

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