Modified natural porcine surfactant modulates tobacco smoke-induced stress response in human monocytes

Life Sci. 1999;64(2):125-34. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(98)00542-6.


Tobacco smoke (TS) is a potent source of oxidants and oxidative stress is an important mechanism by which TS exerts its toxicity in the lung. We have shown that TS induces heat shock (HS)/stress protein (HSP) synthesis in human monocytes. Pulmonary surfactant (PS) whose major physiological function is to confer mechanical stability to alveoli, also modulates oxidative metabolism and other pro-inflammatory functions of monocytes-macrophages. In order to determine whether PS alters the stress response induced by TS, we incubated human peripheral blood monocytes overnight with modified natural porcine surfactant (Curosurf) (1 mg/ml) before exposure to TS. Curosurf decreased TS-induced, but not HS-induced, expression of the major cytosolic, inducible 72 kD HSP (Hsp70). Furthermore, TS-generated superoxide anions production was significantly decreased by Curosurf in an acellular system, suggesting a direct scavenging effect of PS. We also examined the effects of TS and PS on monocytes ultrastructure. Monocytes incubated with Curosurf presented smoother cell membranes than control monocytes, while TS-induced monocyte vacuolization was, at least in part, prevented by Curosurf. Taken together, our data suggest that PS plays a protective role against oxygen radical-mediated, TS-induced cellular stress responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Products*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cell Size / drug effects
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / drug effects*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Monocytes / ultrastructure
  • Nicotiana*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Phospholipids*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Pseudopodia / drug effects
  • Pseudopodia / ultrastructure
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / pharmacology*
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Vacuoles / drug effects
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure


  • Biological Products
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Phospholipids
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Smoke
  • Superoxides
  • poractant alfa