Transient surfactant protein B deficiency in a term infant with severe respiratory failure

J. M. Klein, M. W. Thompson, J. M. Snyder, T. N. George, J. A. Whitsett, E. F. Bell, Jr McCray, L. M. Nogee

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72 Scopus citations


A 38-day-old male infant with persistent pulmonary hypertension and respiratory failure since birth was found to have a complete absence of surfactant protein B (SP-B) along with an aberrant form of SP-C in his tracheal aspirate fluid, findings consistent with the diagnosis of hereditary SP-B deficiency. Surprisingly, SP-B and SP-B messenger ribonucleic acid were present in lung biopsy tissue. However, DNA sequence analysis demonstrated a point mutation in exon 5 of one of the SP-B gene alleles. The infant's mother was found to be a comer of this mutation. The infant's other SP-B allele did not differ from the published DNA sequence for the SP-B gene. We conclude that this patient had a transient deficiency of SP-B, in contrast to that of previously described infants with irreversible respiratory failure caused by hereditary SP-B deficiency. We recommend that infants with suspected SP-B deficiency have serial analysis of tracheal fluid samples for both SP-B and SP-C before lung biopsy, along with genetic analysis for the known SP-B mutations. We speculate that the new mutation found in one of this patient's SP-B genes was in part responsible for the transient deficiency of SP-B.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-248
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


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