Alveolar Surfactant and Inflammatory Mediators

  • M. Hallman
Conference paper


Alveolar surfactant is a lipid protein complex that prevents atelectasis, decreases work of breathing, and promotes uniform expansion of alveoli allowing efficient gas exchange. In addition, the surfactant protects the alveoli and the small airways against edema and mechanical trauma. Surfactant also contains components that are involved in defense against microbes and xenobiotics. According to present hypothesis non-clonal innate immunity — an ancient non-vertebrate defense system — is important in host defense particularly in transcellular spaces. This system has evolved to function in a natural state of infectious and inflammatory diseases. The present methods of intensive care have been developed in the absence of the knowledge of the function of the host defense system. It is conceivable that the new and effective invasive treatment practices “fool” the innate immunity to trigger an inappropriate response that becomes destructive rather than protective to the host.


Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome Surfactant System Surfactant Protein Keratinocyte Growth Factor Alveolar Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2000

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  • M. Hallman

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