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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Aug;293(2):L259-71. Epub 2007 May 11.

Regulation of surfactant secretion in alveolar type II cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Center for Lung and Vascular Biology, Chicago, IL, USA.


Molecular mechanisms of surfactant delivery to the air/liquid interface in the lung, which is crucial to lower the surface tension, have been studied for more than two decades. Lung surfactant is synthesized in the alveolar type II cells. Its delivery to the cell surface is preceded by surfactant component synthesis, packaging into specialized organelles termed lamellar bodies, delivery to the apical plasma membrane and fusion. Secreted surfactant undergoes reuptake, intracellular processing, and finally resecretion of recycled material. This review focuses on the mechanisms of delivery of surfactant components to and their secretion from lamellar bodies. Lamellar bodies-independent secretion is also considered. Signal transduction pathways involved in regulation of these processes are discussed as well as disorders associated with their malfunction.

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