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Arch Immunol Ther Exp (Warsz). 2005 Sep-Oct;53(5):399-417.

Surfactant proteins SP-A and SP-D in human health and disease.

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  • 1Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK.


Surfactant proteins A (SP-A) and D (SP-D) are lung surfactant-associated hydrophilic proteins that have been implicated in surfactant homeostasis and pulmonary innate immunity. They are collagen-containing C-type (calcium-dependent) lectins, called collectins, and are structurally similar to mannose-binding protein of the lectin pathway of the complement system. Being carbohydrate pattern-recognition molecules, they recognize a broad spectrum of pathogens and allergens via the lectin domain, with subsequent activation of immune cells via the collagen region, thus offering protection against infection and allergenic challenge. SP-A and SP-D have been shown to be involved in viral neutralization, clearance of bacteria, fungi, and apoptotic and necrotic cells, down-regulation of allergic reaction, and resolution of inflammation. Studies on single-nucleotide polymorphism, protein levels in broncho-alveolar lavage, and gene knock-out mice have clearly indicated an association between SP-A and SP-D and a range of pulmonary diseases. In addition, recent studies using murine models of allergy and infection have raised the possibility that the recombinant forms of SP-A and SP-D may have therapeutic potential in controlling pulmonary infection, inflammation, and allergies in humans.

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