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Pulmonary surfactant is a complex mixture of lipids and specific apoproteins, 80% phospholipid, 8-10% neutral lipids and 10-12% proteins. The phospholipid component consists of 60% saturated phosphatidylcholine (PC), 20% unsaturated PC and anionic phospholipids, phosphatidylglycerol (PG) and phosphatidylinosotol.
The main active component is dipalmityl phosphotidylcholine (DPPC) which is responsible for reducing surface tension and maintaining alveolar stability.
The protein part of the surfactant system is a small fraction of pulmonary surfactant and includes two major categories differing in structure and hydrophobicity.