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Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1996 Oct;15(4):509-19.

Surfactant proteins A and D increase in response to intratracheal lipopolysaccharide.

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Department of Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Surfactant proteins A (SP-A) and D (SP-D) are "collectins": proteins with collagen-like region and lectin domain that bind carbohydrates in a calcium-dependent manner. Mannose-binding protein, a serum collectin, is an acute-phase protein. We hypothesized that SP-A and SP-D would respond to an acute stress, such as lung inflammation, in the same manner as does mannose-binding protein, with increased messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein production. Rats received intratracheal lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 0.5 mg/kg) or vehicle and were killed 1, 6, 24, and 72 h later. Their lungs were lavaged and the lung tissue homogenized and analyzed for SP-A, SP-D, and phospholipids. Tissue levels of SP-A were increased by 6 h, peaked at 24 h, and were still elevated at 72 h in LPS-treated animals as compared with those given vehicle. SP-A and SP-D levels in lavage fluid were significantly elevated at 72 h. Message levels for SP-A and SP-D, but not SP-B, were significantly increased at 24 h. Lavage phospholipid levels first increased, then decreased in both the control and LPS-treated animals, and significantly less phospholipid was recovered in the lavage fluid of the LPS-treated animals than in that of controls at 72 h. Although other mechanisms, including altered surfactant metabolism, may be involved, these data are consistent with our hypothesis that SP-A and SP-D are upregulated by an acute inflammatory stress in a manner analogous to that of the structurally and functionally related serum acute-phase reactant, mannose-binding protein. We speculate that this upregulation may be a protective response for the lungs.

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