Definition of Pulmonary surfactant

Pulmonary surfactant is a surface-active lipoprotein complex (phospholipoprotein) formed by type II alveolar cells. The proteins and lipids that make up the surfactant have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions. By adsorbing to the air-water interface of alveoli, with hydrophilic head groups in the water and the hydrophobic tails facing towards the air, the main lipid component of surfactant, dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine (DPPC), reduces surface tension. It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.