Disaturated-phosphatidylcholine (DSPC) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG) are respectively the first and the third most abundant phospholipid in human alveolar surfactant. Their concentration decreases in airway surfactant of adults and infants with respiratory distress syndrome and cystic fibrosis. In this study, we used mass spectrometry (IRMS) to investigate the turnover of DSPC and PG in tracheal aspirates (TA) obtained from infants with normal or diseased lungs. We studied eight infants requiring mechanical ventilation: two with no lung disease, four with diaphragmatic hernia, one with ATP-binding cassette sub-family A member 3 heterozygote mutation and one with sepsis. Patients received deuterated water for 48 h as metabolic precursors of palmitate-DSPC and palmitate-PG. Serial TAs were obtained every 6 h for five days or until extubation. DSPC and PG were isolated from TA by column and high-performance thin layer chromatography. Deuterium enrichments of palmitate-DSPC and PG residues were measured by IRMS coupled with a gas chromatographer. Median secretion time (ST), peak time (PT) and fractional synthesis rate (FSR) were 3.7 [0.9- 13.4] h, 71.0 [52.2 - 85.2] h and 6.6 [6.3 - 11.1] %/day for DSPC and 19.3 [6.4 - 22.8] h, 49.0 [33.0 - 52.5] h and 5.8 [4.8 - 10.9] %/day for PG. This study shows that it is feasible to use deuterium derived from body water to trace simultaneously airway surfactant DSPC and PG in humans. When compared within the same patient, DSPC and PG had similar fractional synthesis rates, but PG had a shorter PT, suggesting differences in the life cycle of these essential surfactant components.
- lung surfactant
ASJC Scopus subject areas