To determine whether acute fatty acid lung injury impairs pulmonary surfactant function, we studied anesthetized ventilated rabbits given oleic acid (55 mg/kg iv, n = 11) or an equivalent volume of saline (n = 8). Measurements of pulmonary mechanics indicated a decrease in dynamic compliance within 5 min of injury and a decrease in lung volume that was disproportionately large at low pressures, consistent with diminished surfactant activity in vivo. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid obtained 1 h after injury had significantly increased erythrocytes and total leukocytes, largely polymorphonuclear cells. The phospholipid content and composition of the cell-free fraction had only minor changes from those of controls, but the protein content was increased 35-fold. Measurements of lavage surface activity in vitro showed an increase in average minimum surface tension from 1.3 ± 0.4 (SE) dyn/cm in controls to 20.2 ± 3.9 dyn/cm in injured animals. The alterations in static pressure-volume curves and decrease in lavage surface activity suggest a severe alteration of surfactant function in this form of lung injury that occurs despite the presence of normal amounts of surfactant phospholipids.
- adult respiratory distress syndrome
- free fatty acid
- pulmonary edema
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)