Thermal Cycling of the Pulmonary Surfactant System in Small Heterothermic Mammals

  • Jonathan R. Codd
  • Christopher B. Daniels
  • Sandra Orgeig
Conference paper


Pulmonary surfactant is a complex mixture of lipids and proteins secreted by alveolar type II cells into the fluid lining the interface. Surfactant lowers surface tension, maintains alveolar stability, increases lung compliance and helps to prevent pulmonary edema. Surfactant secretion is principally regulated by changes in breathing pattern and autonomic output. Heterothermic mammals provide an opportunity to examine how the surfactant system responds to changes in physiological condition. Being composed largely of lipids the pulmonary surfactant system is especially sensitive to changes in body temperature. In Sminthopsis crassicaudata and Chalinolobus gouldii cholesterol appeared to function to maintain fluidity during torpor. However Chalinolobus gouldii and Nyctophilus geoffroyi were found to have to have the lowest levels of cholesterol of any mammal studied to date suggesting that the surfactant proteins may also play a role in maintaining fluidity in these animals.


Breathing Pattern Surfactant Protein Pulmonary Surfactant Surfactant Secretion Alveolar Surfactant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



captive bubble surfactometer




dry lung




disaturated phospholipid


metabolic rate




pulmonary surfactant


surfactant protein


surface tension


surface tension equilibrium


surface tension minimum


body temperature


unsaturated phospholipid


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan R. Codd
    • 1
  • Christopher B. Daniels
    • 1
  • Sandra Orgeig
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental BiologyThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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