Surfactant in the Airways: Function and Relevance in Asthma

  • J. M. Hohlfeld
Conference paper


Pulmonary surfactant reduces the surface tension at the air-liquid interface in the entire lung by forming a layer between the aqueous airway liquid and inspired air. The major component of surfactant, dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), is an amphiphatic phospholipid. Its polar head region is associated with the aqueous hypophase whereas the hydrophobic fatty acid chains face the luminal air. Surfactant-specific proteins facilitate the arrangement of phospholipids in this layer, thereby optimizing surface tension reducing capacity. This important function prevents alveolar and airway collapse at end-expiration and thus allows cyclic ventilation of the lungs.


Respir Crit Pulmonary Surfactant Conducting Airway Airway Lumen Exogenous Surfactant 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2000

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  • J. M. Hohlfeld

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