Electrical Surface Potential of Pulmonary Surfactant

TitleElectrical Surface Potential of Pulmonary Surfactant
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsLeonenko, Z., M. Rodenstein, J. Dohner, L. Eng, and M. Amrein
Start Page10135
Date Published09/2006

Pulmonary surfactant is a mixed lipid protein substance of defined composition that self-assembles at the air-lung interface into a molecular film and thus reduces the interfacial tension to close to zero. A very low surface tension is required for maintaining the alveolar structure. The pulmonary surfactant film is also the first barrier for airborne particles entering the lung upon breathing. We explored by frequency modulation Kelvin probe force microscopy (FM-KPFM) the structure and local electrical surface potential of bovine lipid extract surfactant (BLES) films. BLES is a clinically used surfactant replacement and here served as a realistic model surfactant system. The films were distinguished by a pattern of molecular monolayer areas, separated by patches of lipid bilayer stacks. The stacks were at positive electrical potential with respect to the surrounding monolayer areas. We propose a particular molecular arrangement of the lipids and proteins in the film to explain the topographic and surface potential maps. We also discuss how this locally variable surface potential may influence the retention of charged or polar airborne particles in the lung.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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