IMR Press / FBL / Volume 14 / Issue 11 / DOI: 10.2741/3531

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
The electrical surface potential of pulmonary surfactant
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1 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue, West, Waterloo, N2L 3G1, Ontario, Canada
2 Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue, West, Waterloo, N2L 3G1, Ontario, Canada
3 Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, T2N 4N1, Alberta, Canada

Academic Editor: Zhiyong Suo

Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2009, 14(11), 4337–4347; https://doi.org/10.2741/3531
Published: 1 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atomic force microscopy in biology)
Abstract

A molecular film of pulmonary surfactant covers the hydrated lung epithelium to the air. We recently showed that the film exhibits a locally strongly variable electrical surface potential of up to several hundred millivolts. The potential arises from aligned molecular dipoles of the molecules. In the case of the complex structural organization of the phase-separated film of pulmonary surfactant, a map of the local surface potentials allows insight into the local distribution and order of its molecular constituents. Here, we summarize our recent findings and discuss how the electrical surface potential influences the architecture of the film but also changes the way how the lung interacts with the environment.

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