Send to

Choose Destination
J Biomater Appl. 2000 Jan;14(3):243-72.

Exogenous surfactant therapy and mucus rheology in chronic obstructive airway diseases.

Author information

School of Biomedical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, Bombay.


Exogenous surfactant is a specialized biomaterial used for substitution of the lipoprotein mixture normally present in the lungs-pulmonary surfactant. Respiratory Distress Syndrome is a disease of preterm infants mainly caused by pulmonary immaturity as evidenced by a deficiency of mature lung surfactant. Pulmonary surfactant is known to stabilize small alveoli and prevent them from collapsing during expiration. However, apart from alveoli, surfactant also lines the narrow conducting airways of the tracheobronchial tree. This paper reviews the role of this surfactant in the airways and its effect on mucus rheology and mucociliary clearance. Its potential role as a therapeutic biomaterial in chronic obstructive airway diseases, namely asthma, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory manifestations of cystic fibrosis, are discussed. This paper also attempts to elucidate the exact steps in the pathogenic pathway of these diseases which could be reversed by supplementation of exogenous surfactant formulations. It is shown that there is great potential for the use of present day surfactants (which are actually formulated for use in Respiratory Disease Syndrome) as therapy in the aforementioned diseases of altered mucus viscoelasticity and mucociliary clearance. However, for improved effectiveness, specific surfactant formulations satisfying certain specific criteria should be tailor-made for the clinical condition for which they are intended. The properties required to be fulfilled by the optimal exogenous surfactant in each of the above clinical conditions are enumerated in this paper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center