Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from P&FT and BioMed Central.

Open Access Commentary

Pulmonary surfactant is indispensable in order to simulate the in vivo situation

Carsten Schleh1, Wolfgang G Kreyling2* and Claus-Michael Lehr3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of in vivo Pharmacology/Toxicology, BSL BIOSERVICE Scientific Laboratories GmbH, Behringstr, 6/8, Planegg/Munich 82152, Germany

2 Institute of Epidemiology II, Helmholtz Center Munich – German Research Center for Environmental Health, D-85764, Neuherberg/Munich, Germany

3 Helmholtz institut for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (HZI), Saarland University, 66123, Saarbrücken, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Particle and Fibre Toxicology 2013, 10:6  doi:10.1186/1743-8977-10-6

Published: 25 March 2013


The article of Gasser et al. [Part Fibre Toxicol. 24; 9:17, 2012] describes the interaction of carbon nanotubes with cells within a complex cell culture model. Besides various toxicity parameters, the influence of coating with pulmonary surfactant was investigated. Pulmonary surfactant covers the entire alveolar region with the main function of decreasing the surface tension in the alveoli to prevent alveolar collapse. Although each inhaled nanoparticle, reaching the alveoli, will come into contact with pulmonary surfactant which will probably lead to a surfactant coating, pulmonary surfactant components are not commonly integrated in in vitro systems. Gasser and co-workers have shown that this surfactant coating is able to influence the further interaction with cellular systems. Hence, each scientist, working with in vitro systems and nanoparticles, should think of integrating pulmonary surfactant structures in order to harmonize the in vitro systems with the in vivo situation. In the present commentary we discuss the most important points of the manuscript of Gasser et al. and discuss where the usage of pulmonary surfactant can be further optimized.

Nanoparticle; Lung; Pulmonary surfactant; Coating