Immunoregulatory functions of surfactant proteins

Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Jan;5(1):58-68. doi: 10.1038/nri1528.


Because the lungs function as the body's gas-exchange organ, they are inevitably exposed to air that is contaminated with pathogens, allergens and pollutants. Host-defence mechanisms within the lungs must facilitate clearance of inhaled pathogens and particles while minimizing an inflammatory response that could damage the thin, delicate gas-exchanging epithelium. Pulmonary surfactant is a complex of lipids and proteins that enhances pathogen clearance and regulates adaptive and innate immune-cell functions. In this article, I review the structure and functions of the surfactant proteins SP-A and SP-D in regulating host immune defence and in modulating inflammatory responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Collectins / chemistry
  • Collectins / immunology
  • Collectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immune System / metabolism*
  • Phagocytosis / immunology
  • Phagocytosis / physiology
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein A / immunology
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein A / physiology
  • Surface-Active Agents / metabolism*


  • Collectins
  • Proteins
  • Pulmonary Surfactant-Associated Protein A
  • Surface-Active Agents