Localization of Lung Surfactant Protein D on Mucosal Surfaces in Human Tissues

  • Madsen J
  • Kliem A
  • Tornoe I
 et al. 
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Lung surfactant protein-D (SP-D), a collectin mainly produced by alveolar type II cells, initiates the effector mechanisms of innate immunity on binding to microbial carbohydrates. A panel of mRNAs from human tissues was screened for SP-D mRNA by RT-PCR. The lung was the main site of synthesis, but transcripts were readily amplified from trachea, brain, testis, salivary gland, heart, prostate gland, kidney, and pancreas. Minor sites of synthesis were uterus, small intestine, placenta, mammary gland, and stomach. The sequence of SP-D derived from parotid gland mRNA was identical with that of pulmonary SP-D. mAbs were raised against SP-D, and one was used to locate SP-D in cells and tissues by immunohistochemistry. SP-D immunoreactivity was found in alveolar type II cells, Clara cells, on and within alveolar macrophages, in epithelial cells of large and small ducts of the parotid gland, sweat glands, and lachrymal glands, in epithelial cells of the gall bladder and intrahepatic bile ducts, and in exocrine pancreatic ducts. SP-D was also present in epithelial cells of the skin, esophagus, small intestine, and urinary tract, as well as in the collecting ducts of the kidney. SP-D is generally present on mucosal surfaces and not restricted to a subset of cells in the lung. The localization and functions of SP-D indicate that this collectin is the counterpart in the innate immune system of IgA in the adaptive immune system.

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  • J. Madsen

  • A. Kliem

  • I. Tornoe

  • K. Skjodt

  • C. Koch

  • U. Holmskov

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