Surfactant proteins: role in lung physiology and disease in early life

Paediatr Respir Rev. 2001 Jun;2(2):151-8. doi: 10.1053/prrv.2000.0123.


Pulmonary surfactant is an amalgam of proteins and phospholipids which serves to maintain a low surface tension within the alveolar regions of the lungs during changes in lung volume. Recently, two of the surfactant proteins--A and D--have been characterised within the collectin family and found to play important roles in the non-specific host defence of the lung. The field of surfactant biology has attracted the attention of physiologists, biochemists, molecular biologists and clinical scientists in an effort to describe the nature and role of pulmonary surfactant in health and disease. This paper will review the history and content of discoveries in the field of surfactant biology together with pulmonary diseases related to surfactant deficiency or dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyaline Membrane Disease / diagnosis
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Interstitial / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Alveolar Proteinosis / physiopathology
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Proteins / physiology
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / metabolism*
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Proteins
  • Pulmonary Surfactants