James B. McClenahan, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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The thin fluid layer lining the pulmonary alveoli contains a protein-lipid (dipalmitoyllecithin) molecule, "surfactant," which is capable of greatly lowering the air-fluid interfacial tension on contraction of the surface. This material permits alveoli of different sizes to exist at the same transpulmonary pressure, prevents atelectasis on expiration, and decreases the work of breathing. Surfactant was obtained from fresh, normal dog lungs by tracheal-alveolar lavage with normal saline and purified by a differential centrifugation, salinegradient technique (Abrams); this material lowered the surface tension to 5 dynes on the modified Wilhelmy balance with contraction of the surface area from 75 cm2 to
McClenahan JB. Abnormal "Surfactant" Activity Secondary to Protein Component Alteration.. Ann Intern Med. 1967;66:1055. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-66-5-1055_3
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1967;66(5):1055.
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