Role of transferrin and ceruloplasmin in antioxidant activity of lung epithelial lining fluid

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988 May;64(5):2092-9. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1988.64.5.2092.


Lung epithelial lining fluid (ELF) is a thin layer of plasma ultrafiltrate and locally secreted substances that may provide antioxidant protection and serve as a "front-line" defense for the lower respiratory tract epithelium. To characterize the antioxidant properties of ELF, young, healthy, nonsmoking volunteers underwent bronchoalveolar lavage with determination of ELF volumes and ELF proteins. ELF (greater than 0.4 ml) is a potent inhibitor of lipid peroxidation as measured by malondialdehyde (MDA) production in an in vitro iron-dependent assay system. Two serum proteins, transferrin and ceruloplasmin, were quantitated in ELF and found to be potent inhibitors of lipid peroxidation. Other ELF components, including vitamin E, vitamin C, and albumin, did not function as antioxidants in this system. Several experimental observations suggest that ELF transferrin was more important than ceruloplasmin in inhibiting lipid peroxidation: 1) ELF concentrations of transferrin were 20-fold higher than those for ceruloplasmin; 2) ELF antioxidant activity was abolished by preincubation with Fe3+; 3) ELF antioxidant activity was minimally affected by sodium azide, which is known to inhibit ceruloplasmin ferroxidase activity; and 4) ELF ceruloplasmin ferroxidase activity was virtually nondetectable. ELF possesses a significant antioxidant activity that may be important in vivo in protecting the lung from oxidant injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants*
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / analysis*
  • Ceruloplasmin / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / physiology*
  • Transferrin / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Transferrin
  • Ceruloplasmin
  • Oxygen