Newborn respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) results from a deficiency of pulmonary surfactant. Surfactant has three ultrastructural forms: lamellar bodies, which, when secreted from Type II pneumocytes, transform into tubular myelin; tubular myelin in turn given rise to the phospholipid monolayer at the air-fluid interface in the alveolus that constitutes functional surfactant. It has been shown previously that the lungs of infants dying from RDS lacked tubular myelin despite the presence of abundant lamellar bodies whereas the lungs of control infants dying from other causes had both tubular myelin and lamellar bodies. An abnormality in the conversion of lamellar bodies to tubular myelin in RDS was proposed as a possible explanation for this finding. To evaluate the role of surfactant proteins (SPs) in this conversion, the authors re-examined the lungs of 11 RDS infants and 10 control infants for reactivity with antisera to high and low molecular weight SPs. In control infants, abundant intense staining with antisera to both types of SPs was found, but in the RDS lungs, staining was weaker than that in controls and less intense for high molecular weight compared to low molecular weight SPs. In lungs from patients with RDS, although staining increased with increasing gestational and post-natal ages, the intensity was less than control levels at all ages. The correlation of deficiency of SPs in RDS with lack of tubular myelin suggests that SPs may be involved in the conversion of normal lamellar bodies to tubular myelin and that the deficiency of SPs could explain the persistent respiratory distress in the presence of surfactant phospholipid synthesis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||American Journal of Pathology|
|State||Published - 1989|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine