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Pediatr Pathol Mol Med. 2001 Jul-Aug;20(4):319-39.

Localization and functions of SP-A and SP-D at mucosal surfaces.

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Department of Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Histology and Graduate School Animal Health, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Pulmonary surfactant protein A (SP-A) and D (SP-D), members of the collectin family, are implicated in innate host defense of the lung. Collectins consist of a collagen-like domain and a carbohydrate recognition domain. SP-A and SP-D recognize and interact with glycoconjugates on the surface of microorganisms. They protect the lung by interacting with a wide variety of potential pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and fungi. This may result in enhanced killing and/or clearance by phagocytes. Although most extensively studied in the lung, both SP-A and SP-D, or proteins closely resembling SP-A and SP-D, are found in a number of other sites in the body and therefore may play a protective role at other sites than the lung. SP-A and SP-D protein and/or mRNA have been detected at various sites of the body: the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, the middle ear, and in the peritoneal cavity. The presence of SP-A and SP-D at these mucosal surfaces, in close contact with numerous potentially harmful microorganisms, supports a role for these "lung"-collectins in innate mucosal defense. SP-A and SP-D may be important molecules in a threefold innate defense, particularly in the neonatal period between maternally acquired immunity and a fully developed adaptive immune system; the time interval between first exposure to a pathogen and generation of specific antibodies; and states of impaired immune function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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