Keeping lung surfactant where it belongs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Lung surfactant causes the surface tension in the alveoli to drop to nearly zero on exhalation; in the upper airways the surface tension is about 30 mN/m and constant. Hence, a surface tension gradient exists between alveoli and airways that should lead to surfactant flow out of the alveoli and elimination of the surface tension gradient. However, the lung surfactant specific protein SP-C enhances the resistance to surfactant flow by altering the ratio of solid to fluid phase in the monolayer, leading to a jamming transition. The accompanying 3 orders of magnitude increase in surface viscosity minimizes surfactant flow to the airways, and likely stabilizes the alveoli against collapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication05AIChE
Subtitle of host publication2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase, Conference Proceedings
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Event05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2005Nov 4 2005


Other05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH


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