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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1992 Jun;6(6):594-600.

Surfactant protein C is expressed in alveolar type II cells but not in Clara cells of rat lung.

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Department of Medicine, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO 80206.


The expression of the surfactant-associated proteins in bronchiolar cells remains to be defined. We used in situ hybridization to identify sites of message expression of the surfactant-associated proteins A, B, and C (SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C) in adult and fetal rat lung. The expression of these messages by in situ hybridization was also compared with the localization of SP-A by immunocytochemistry. The localization of SP-A was used to identify type II cells and nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial (Clara) cells in these sections. The cRNA antisense probes for SP-A, SP-B, and SP-C appeared to hybridize over type II cells. Sense probes showed no localization or apparent specific hybridization. Messages for both SP-A and SP-B were also found in nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial (Clara) cells. However, no message for SP-C was observed in these cells. Clara cells from terminal to large bronchioles lacked detectable mRNA for SP-C. Expression of surfactant protein mRNAs was not detectable in type I cells, alveolar macrophages, interstitial cells, or vascular cells. Similarly, in fetal rat lung the messages for SP-A and SP-B but not SP-C were detected in bronchiolar cells. We conclude that rat Clara cells do not express SP-C mRNA, and thus SP-C can be regarded as a specific marker for rat type II cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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