Fluid Films as Models for Understanding the Impact of Inhaled Particles in Lung Surfactant Layers

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Pollution is currently a public health problem associated with different cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. These are commonly originated as a result of the pollutant transport to the alveolar cavity after their inhalation. Once pollutants enter the alveolar cavity, they are deposited on the lung surfactant (LS) film, altering their mechanical performance which increases the respiratory work and can induce a premature alveolar collapse. Furthermore, the interactions of pollutants with LS can induce the formation of an LS corona decorating the pollutant surface, favoring their penetration into the bloodstream and distribution along different organs. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the most fundamental aspects of the interaction of particulate pollutants with LS to mitigate their effects, and design therapeutic strategies. However, the use of animal models is often invasive, and requires a careful examination of different bioethics aspects. This makes it necessary to design in vitro models mimicking some physico-chemical aspects with relevance for LS performance, which can be done by exploiting the tools provided by the science and technology of interfaces to shed light on the most fundamental physico-chemical bases governing the interaction between LS and particulate matter. This review provides an updated perspective of the use of fluid films of LS models for shedding light on the potential impact of particulate matter in the performance of LS film. It should be noted that even though the used model systems cannot account for some physiological aspects, it is expected that the information contained in this review can contribute on the understanding of the potential toxicological effects of air pollution.
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