Lung-surfactant-meconium interaction: In vitro study in bulk and at the air-solution interface

T. Gross, E. Zmora, Y. Levi-Kalisman, O. Regev*, A. Herman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Lung surfactants (LSs) form a monolayer at the lung's alveoli air-solution interface and play a crucial role in making normal breathing possible by reducing the surface tension. LS are affected by various agents that hamper their normal functioning. Tobacco smoke [Bringezu, F.; Pinkerton, K. E.; Zasadzinski, J. A. Langmuir 2003, 19, 2900-2907] and meconium, the first excrement of the newborn, are examples for such LS poison. In neonates, intrauterine aspiration of meconium is a known cause for morbidity and mortality. We studied in vitro the interactions between modified porcine LSs (Curosurf), used as LS replacement, and meconium, as well as between their artificial analogues, phospholipids mixture, and taurocholic acid (TA), respectively. The interactions were examined both in the bulk solution and at the air-water interface, representing the pre- and postnatal situations. It was found that the artificial analogues represent the natural system reliably and exhibit similar effects. TA, a principle component of bile, is an amphiphilic sterol compound in which the hydrophilic and hydrophobic moieties are presented at different faces of the sterol plane. Here we found that TA affects the structure of both monolayers at the interface and surfactant aggregates in solution. A likely poisoning mechanism is by stereoselective penetration of TA into the lamellar or monolayer structures, thus disrupting the contiguous structure of the intact monolayer or the bilayer vesicle structure.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3243-3250
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


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