Mechanisms to explain surfactant responses

Biol Neonate. 2006;89(4):298-302. doi: 10.1159/000092866. Epub 2006 Jun 1.


Surfactant is now standard of care for infants with respiratory distress syndrome. Surfactant treatments are effective because of complex metabolic interactions between surfactant and the preterm lung. The large treatment dose functions as substrate; it is taken up by the preterm lung and is reprocessed and secreted with improved function. The components of the treatment surfactant remain in the preterm lung for days. If lung injury is avoided, then surfactant inhibition is minimized. Prenatal corticosteroids complement surfactant to further enhance lung function. The magic of surfactant therapy results from the multiple interactions between surfactant and the preterm lung.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / pharmacology*
  • Pulmonary Surfactants / therapeutic use*
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / metabolism
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn / pathology
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology*
  • Surface-Active Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Pulmonary Surfactants
  • Surface-Active Agents