Surfactant protein A2 gene expression by human airway submucosal gland cells

Hiroki Saitoh, Hiroshi Okayama, Sanae Shimura, Toshiaki Fushimi, Tohru Masuda, Kunio Shirato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


To determine whether human airway submucosal glands produce and secrete surfactant proteins, we examined their protein and gene expression in submucosal glands from trachea and bronchi obtained from operated and autopsied lungs within 4 h of death. Using a monoclonal antibody (PE-10)) against surfactant protein A (SP-A), a positive immunoperoxidase stain was observed over serous cells of submucosal glands in histologic sections of airway walls. Measurement of SP-A in culture medium samples using single-step enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed a significant secretion of SP-A by isolated submucosal glands (1.2 ± 0.08 ng/ml/h, SEM, n = 40). In gene expression experiments by reverse transciption-polymerase chain reaction, the SP-A complementary DNA (cDNA) segment was amplified from isolated submucosal glands, indicating the presence of SP-A messenger RNA (mRNA) in airway submucosal glands. Bronchial superficial epithelial cells failed to show the presence of SP-A mRNA. No cDNA segment of SP-B, SP-C, or SP-D cDNA was amplified from isolated submucosal glands or superficial epithelial cells, whereas all were amplified from alveolar tissue. Furthermore, in contrast to the control alveolar tissue, which expressed both SP-A1 and SP-A2 genes, SP-A2 gene transcript alone was detected in isolated submucosal glands by Southern analysis that included the digestion of the amplified SP-A cDNA fragment with the restriction enzyme Apa I. These findings indicate that human airway submucosal gland cells can transcribe the SP-A2 gene and produce SP-A protein in a manner different from peripheral airways and alveoli, playing a role in the airway defense mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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