Lang, Carol J., Postle, Anthony D., Orgeig, Sandra, Possmayer, Fred, Bernhard, Wolfgang, Panda, Amiya K., Jurgens, Klaus D., Milsom, William K., Nag, Kaushik K. and Daniels, Christopher B.
Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine is not the major surfactant phospholipid species in all mammals
American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 289, (5), . (doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00496.2004).
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Pulmonary surfactant, a complex mixture of lipids and proteins, lowers the surface tension in terminal air spaces and is crucial for lung function. Within an animal species, surfactant composition can be influenced by development, disease, respiratory rate, and/or body temperature. Here, we analyzed the composition of surfactant in three heterothermic mammals (dunnart, bat, squirrel), displaying different torpor patterns, to determine: 1) whether increases in surfactant cholesterol (Chol) and phospholipid (PL) saturation occur during long-term torpor in squirrels, as in bats and dunnarts; 2) whether surfactant proteins change during torpor; and 3) whether PL molecular species (molsp) composition is altered. In addition, we analyzed the molsp composition of a further nine mammals (including placental/marsupial and hetero-/homeothermic contrasts) to determine whether phylogeny or thermal behavior determines molsp composition in mammals. We discovered that like bats and dunnarts, surfactant Chol increases during torpor in squirrels. However, changes in PL saturation during torpor may not be universal. Torpor was accompanied by a decrease in surfactant protein A in dunnarts and squirrels, but not in bats, whereas surfactant protein B did not change in any species. Phosphatidylcholine (PC)16:0/16:0 is highly variable between mammals and is not the major PL in the wombat, dunnart, shrew, or Tasmanian devil. An inverse relationship exists between PC16:0/16:0 and two of the major fluidizing components, PC16:0/16:1 and PC16:0/14:0. The PL molsp profile of an animal species is not determined by phylogeny or thermal behavior. We conclude that there is no single PL molsp composition that functions optimally in all mammals; rather, surfactant from each animal is unique and tailored to the biology of that animal.
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