Intestinal surfactant-like material. A novel secretory product of the rat enterocyte

K. DeSchryver-Kecskemeti, R. Eliakim, S. Carroll, W. F. Stenson, M. A. Moxley, D. H. Alpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Surface-active phospholipid-containing particles are traditionally considered to be the product of type II pneumocytes. We now demonstrate membrane-bound lamellar cytoplasmic organelles in adult and suckling rat enterocytes that are densely reactive with phospholipid-staining reagents. These structures were seen in the basolateral space, within the intercellular junctions, and unraveling on the lumenal surface, and were more abundant after fat feeding. Light scrapings of intestinal mucosa and lumenal washings that contained these bodies, as evidenced by morphology and biochemical analysis, lowered surface tension in a pulsating bubble assay. Production by normal enterocytes of material with surfactant-like appearance and properties demonstrates that these structures are present in extrapulmonary epithelia, and extends the possible range of their function beyond gaseous exchange, e.g., solute exchange or lubrication on membrane surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355-1361
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesP01DK033487


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