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Innate Immun. 2010 Jun;16(3):138-42. doi: 10.1177/1753425910366879. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Review: The intersection of surfactant homeostasis and innate host defense of the lung: lessons from newborn infants.

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Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


The study of pulmonary surfactant, directed towards prevention and treatment of respiratory distress syndrome in preterm infants, led to the identification of novel proteins/genes that determine the synthesis, packaging, secretion, function, and catabolism of alveolar surfactant. The surfactant proteins, SP-A, SP-B, SP-C, and SP-D, and the surfactant lipid associated transporter, ABCA3, play critical roles in surfactant homeostasis. The study of their structure and function provided insight into a system that integrates the biophysical need to reduce surface tension in the alveoli and the innate host defenses required to maintain pulmonary structure and function after birth. Alveolar homeostasis depends on the intrinsic, multifunctional structures of the surfactant-associated proteins and the shared transcriptional regulatory modules that determine both the expression of genes involved in surfactant production as well as those critical for host defense. Identification of the surfactant proteins and the elucidation of the genetic networks regulating alveolar homeostasis have provided the basis for understanding and diagnosing rare and common pulmonary disorders, including respiratory distress syndrome, inherited disorders of surfactant homeostasis, and pulmonary alveolar proteinosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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