A comparison of the surfactant associated lipids derived from reptilian and mammalian lungs

Christopher B. Daniels, Heather A. Barr, Terence E. Nicholas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    The lungs of the central netted dragon Ctenophorus nuchalis are bag-like, with most of the gas exchange region located in the anterior third. Although the faveoli are much larger than the mammalian alveoli, the lizard at 37°C has approximately 70 times more surfactant phospolipid per unit area of respiratory surface than does a similar sized mammal. However, when expressed as per wet lung weight, lizards and rats possessed similar amounts of phospholipids. Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine was the principal phospholipid in both species. However, major differences existed in the phospholipid, neutral lipid and fatty acid profiles. Whereas the lizard contained neither phosphatidylglycerol nor phosphatidyl-ethanolamine it had more cholesterol, esterified cholesterol, acylglycerides and unsaturated fatty acids. Although the ratio of saturated: unsaturated fatty acids was similar in rats and lizards, palmitic acid predominated in the former. The composition of lizard surfactant suggests that it would adsorb rapidly at reduced body temperature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-347
    Number of pages13
    JournalRespiration Physiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1989


    • Alveolar lung
    • Fatty acids
    • Faveolar lung
    • Phospholipids
    • Pulmonary tissue


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