Inactivation of pulmonary surfactant due to serum-inhibited adsorption and reversal by hydrophilic polymers: Experimental

H. William Taeusch, Jorge Bernardino De La Serna, Jesus Perez-Gil, Coralie Alonso, Joseph A. Zasadzinski

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The rate of change of surface pressure, π, in a Langmuir trough following the deposition of surfactant suspensions on subphases containing serum, with or without polymers, is used to model a likely cause of surfactant inactivation in vivo: inhibition of surfactant adsorption due to competitive adsorption of surface active serum proteins. Aqueous suspensions of native porcine surfactant, organic extracts of native surfactant, and the clinical surfactants Curosurf, Infasurf, and Survanta spread on buffered subphases increase the surface pressure, π, to ∼40 mN/m within 2 min. The variation with concentration, temperature, and mode of spreading confirmed Brewster angle microscopy observations that subphase to surface adsorption of surfactant is the dominant form of surfactant transport to the interface. However (with the exception of native porcine surfactant), similar rapid increases in π did not occur when surfactants were applied to subphases containing serum. Components of serum are surface active and adsorb reversibly to the interface increasing π up to a concentration-dependent saturation value, πmax. When surfactants were applied to subphases containing serum, the increase in π was significantly slowed or eliminated. Therefore, serum at the interface presents a barrier to surfactant adsorption. Addition of either hyaluronan (normally found in alveolar fluid) or polyethylene glycol to subphases containing serum reversed inhibition by restoring the rate of surfactant adsorption to that of the clean interface, thereby allowing surfactant to overcome the serum-induced barrier to adsorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1769-1779
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005


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