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Am J Pathol. 1994 Oct;145(4):941-50.

Effects of smoke inhalation on alveolar surfactant subtypes in mice.

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Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The effects of smoke inhalation on alveolar surfactant subtypes were examined in mice exposed for 30 minutes to smoke generated from the burning of a flexible polyurethane foam. At 4 or 12 hours after the exposure, three surfactant pellets, P10, P60, and P100, and a supernatant, S100, were prepared by sequential centrifugation of lavage fluids at 10,000 g for 30 minutes (P10), 60,000 g for 60 minutes (P60), and 100,000 g for 15 hours (P100 and S100). Phospholipid analysis and electron microscopy were performed on each fraction. Smoke exposure dramatically altered the normal distributions of these fractions: it significantly increased the phospholipid content of the heavier subtype, P10, which is thought to represent newly secreted surfactant; had no effect on the intermediate form, P60; and dramatically increased the phospholipid content (approximately fivefold) of the lighter subtypes, P100 and S100, which are believed to represent catabolic end-products of alveolar surfactant. Only P100 was structurally altered by the smoke. These results represent alterations of the normal metabolic processing of alveolar surfactant. Whereas the mechanism is yet to be defined, it seems to involve a small but significant increase in the newly secreted surfactant, as well as an excessively high accumulation of the structurally altered catabolic forms of the secreted surfactant.

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