Surfactant proteins-A and -B are elevated in plasma of patients with acute respiratory failure

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    Surfactant protein-A (SP-A) leaks into the circulation of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or acute cardiogenic pulmonary edema (APE) in a manner inversely related to lung function. Since surfactant protein-B (SP-B) is synthesized as a precursor considerably smaller than alveolar SP-A, we investigated whether it enters the circulation more readily. Reactivities consistent with SP-B proprotein (∼ 42 to ∼ 45 kD) and the ∼ 25 kD processing intermediate were detected in plasma. Plasma immunoreactive SP-B levels were significantly higher in ARDS (8,007 ± 1,654 ng/ml [mean ± SEM], n = 22) and APE (3,646 ± 635 ng/ml, n = 10) patients compared with normal subjects (1,685 ± 58 ng/ml, n = 33) and ventilated patients with no cardiorespiratory disease (1,829 ± 184 ng/ml, n = 7). All groups had plasma SP-B/SP-A ratios ∼ 6- to ∼ 8-fold higher than in normal lavage or ARDS tracheal aspirate fluid, consistent with protein sieving. During admission, both plasma SP-B and the SP-B/SP-A ratio were inversely related to blood oxygenation (Pao2/Fio2) (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.025, n = 260 from 39 patients; Spearman) and static respiratory system compliance (ΔV/ΔP) (p < 0.0001 and p < 0.01, n = 168 from 25 patients). We describe in detail three patients and conclude that immunoreactive SP-B enters more readily than SP-A, is cleared acutely, and provides a bet-ter indicator of lung trauma.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1217-1229
    Number of pages13
    JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1997


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