Thermal Cycling of the Pulmonary Surfactant System in Small Heterothermic Mammals

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Cholesterol Surfactant Hydroxyl Hydrocarbon Noradrenaline 

Abbreviations

CBS

captive bubble surfactometer

Chol

cholesterol

DL

dry lung

DPPC

dipalmitolyphosphatidylcholine

DSP

disaturated phospholipid

MR

metabolic rate

PL

phospholipid

PS

pulmonary surfactant

SP

surfactant protein

ST

surface tension

STeq

surface tension equilibrium

STmin

surface tension minimum

Tb

body temperature

USP

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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