Phospholipids pp 185-195 | Cite as

Phospholipids in Pulmonary Functions

  • Burkhard Lachmann


In 1929, von Neergaard wrote “It may be possible that the surface tension of the alveoli is diminished by concentration of surface-active substances against other physiologic solutions” (14). He was referring to the existence of a surface film in the alveoli and his assumption was based on the following observations. Neergaard measured pressure-volume diagrams from human and animal lungs, first filling them with air and then with liquid. The surprising result was that the pressure necessary for filling the lung with liquid was only half the pressure necessary for filling the lung with air (Fig. 1). His explanation of this remarkable difference was based on the assumption that in each alveolus there must be a barrier between air and fluid (such as in the wall of a soap-bubble) with a tendency to diminish its size according to the law of Laplace. The amount of retraction pressure for the lung is larger than the retraction force of the elastic fibers. By filling the alveoli with liquid, the air-liquid barrier is replaced by a liquid-to-liquid barrier without any surface tension. The retraction pressure, measurable in the fluid-filled lung, is therefore equal to the retraction pressure of the elastic fibres. The same procedure for determining the influence of surface tension on the overall retraction of the lung was later reported by other scientists, and is now a well-established method.


Surface Tension Platelet Activate Factor Surfactant System Pulmonary Surfactant Lung Edema 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Avery, M.E. and Mead, J., 1959, Surface properties in relation to atelectasis and hyaline membrane disease, Am. J. Dis. Child., 97: 517–523.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clements, J.A., 1957, Surface tension of lung extracts, Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med., 95: 170–172.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Guyton, A.C., Moffatt, D.S., and Adair, T.A., 1984, Role of alveolar surface tension in transepithelial movement of fluids, in: Pulmonary Surfactant”, B. Robertson, L.M.G. van Golde, and J.J. Batenburg, eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 171–185.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hein, T., Lachmann, B., Armbruster, S., Smit, J.M., Voelkel, N., and Erdmann, W., 1987, Pulmonary surfactant inhibits the cardiovascular effects of platelet activating factor (PAF), 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) and angiotensin II. Am. Rev. Resp. Dis., 135: A506.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Huber, G., Mullane, J., and LaForce, F.M., 1976, The role of alveolar lining material in antibacterial defenses of the lung. Bull. Europ. Physiopath. Resp., 12: 178–179.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Jarstrand, C., 1984, Role of surfactant in the pulmonary defence system, in: “Pulmonary Surfactant,” B. Robertson, L.M.G. van Golde, J.J. Batenburg, eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 187–201.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lachmann, B, 1985, Possible function of bronchial surfactant, Eur. J. Respir. Dis., 67: 49–61.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lachmann, B., and Becher, G., 1986, Protective effect of lung surfactant on allergic bronchial constriction in guinea pigs, Am. Rev. Respir. Dis., 133: A118.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lachmann, B., 1988, Surfactant replacement in acute respiratory failure: animal studies and first clinical trials, in: “Surfactant Replacement Therapy in Neonatal and Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome”, B. Lachmann, ed., Springer Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg, pp 212–223.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Macklem, P.T., Proctor, D.F., and Hogg, J.C., 1970, The stability of peripheral airways. Resp. Physiol., 8: 191–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pattle, R.E., 1955, Properties, function, and origin of the alveolar lining layer, Nature. 175:1125–1126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Reifenrath, R., 1983, Surfactant action in bronchial mucus, in: “Pulmonary Surfactant System”, E.V. Cosmi, E.M. Scarpelli, eds., Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 339–347.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Van Golde, L.M.G., Batenburg, J.J., and Robertson, B, 1988, The pulmonary surfactant system: Biochemical aspects and functional significance, Physiol. Rev., 68: 374–455.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Von Neergaard, K., 1929, Neue Auffassungen über einen Grund-begriff der Atemmechanik, Z. Ges. Exp. Med. 66:373–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Burkhard Lachmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of AnesthesiologyErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations