Phosphatidylcholine composition of pulmonary surfactant from terrestrial and marine diving mammals.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Marine mammals are repeatedly exposed to elevated extra-thoracic pressure and alveolar collapse during diving and readily experience alveolar expansion upon inhalation - a unique capability as compared to terrestrial mammals. How marine mammal lungs overcome the challenges of frequent alveolar collapse and recruitment remains unknown. Recent studies indicate that pinniped lung surfactant has more anti-adhesive components compared to terrestrial mammals, which would aid in alveolar opening. However, pulmonary surfactant composition has not yet been investigated in odontocetes, whose physiology and diving behavior differ from pinnipeds. The aim of this study was to investigate the phosphatidylcholine (PC) composition of lung surfactants from various marine mammals and compare these to a terrestrial mammal. We found an increase in anti-adhesive PC species in harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) and California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) compared to dog (Canus lupus familiaris), as well as an increase in the fluidizing PCs 16:0/14:0 and 16:0/16:1 in pinnipeds compared to odontocetes. The harbor porpoise (a representative of the odontocetes) did not have higher levels of fluidizing PCs compared to dog. Our preliminary results support previous findings that pinnipeds may have adapted unique surfactant compositions that allow them to dive at high pressures for extended periods without adverse effects. Future studies will need to investigate the differences in other surfactant components to fully assess the surfactant composition in odontocetes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gutierrez, DB; Fahlman, A; Gardner, M; Kleinhenz, D; Piscitelli, M; Raverty, S; Haulena, M; Zimba, PV

Published Date

  • June 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 211 /

Start / End Page

  • 29 - 36

PubMed ID

  • 25812797

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4450144

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-1519

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1569-9048

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.resp.2015.02.004


  • eng