Clearance of surfactant phosphatidylcholine via the upper airways in rabbits

A. Pettenazzo, A. Jobe, J. Humme, S. Seidner, M. Ikegami

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24 Scopus citations


A possible route of clearance of surfactant phosphatidylcholine from the lungs is via the airways. To quantify surfactant loss via this pathway, latex bags were surgically placed into the abdomens of adult rabbits such that secretions cleared via the esophagus could be collected. The rabbits then were given treatment or trace doses of radiolabeled phosphatidylcholine-surfactant by tracheal injection and/or intravascular radiolabeled precursors of phosphatidylcholine. Labeled saturated phosphatidylcholine was measured in all fluids that were collected from the bags at 2-h intervals for 24 h and in alveolar washes and lung tissues at 24 h. No more than 7% of either treatment or trace doses of intratracheal surfactant-saturated phosphatidylcholine was lost via clearance up the airways over 24 h. Clearances of endogenously synthesized and secreted saturated phosphatidylcholine were estimated to be no more than 3% of the flux of labeled saturated phosphatidylcholine through the alveolar pool. These experiments demonstrate that surfactant phosphatidylcholine clearance via movement up the airways is not a major pathway leading to surfactant catabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2151-2155
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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