Different pathways of degradation of SP-A and saturated phosphatidylcholine by alveolar macrophages

Aldo Baritussio, Antonella Alberti, Decio Armanini, Federica Meloni, Daniela Bruttomesso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alveolar macrophages degrade surfactant protein (SP) A and saturated phosphatidycholine [dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC)]. To clarify this process, using rabbit alveolar macrophages, we analyzed the effect of drugs known to affect phagocytosis, pinocytosis, clathrin-mediated uptake, caveolae, the cytoskeleton, lysosomal pH, protein kinase C, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) on the degradation of SP-A and DPPC. We found the following: 1) SP-A binds to the plasma membrane, is rapidly internalized, and then moves toward degradative compartments. Uptake could be clathrin mediated, whereas phagocytosis, pinocytosis, or the use of caveolae are less likely. An intact cytoskeleton and an acidic milieu are necessary for the degradation of SP-A. 2) Stimulation of protein kinase C increases the degradation of SP-A. 3) PI3K influences the degradation of SP-A by regulating both the speed of internalization and subsequent intracellular steps, but its inhibition does not prevent SP-A from reaching the lysosomal compartment. 4) The degradation of DPPC is unaffected by most of the treatments able to influence the degradation of SP-A. Thus it appears that DPPC is degraded by alveolar macrophages through mechanisms very different from those utilized for the degradation of SP-A.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1 23-1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


  • Dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase
  • Surfactant protein A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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