BACKGROUND - Genetic and developmental disruption of surfactant protein B (SP-B) expression causes neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS).
OBJECTIVES - To assess developmental and genetic regulation of SP-B expression in vivo.
METHODS - To evaluate in vivo developmental regulation of SP-B, we used immunoblotting to compare frequency of detection of mature and pro-SP-B peptides in developmentally distinct cohorts: 24 amniotic fluid samples, unfractionated tracheal aspirates from 101 infants >or=34 weeks' gestation with (75) and without (26) neonatal RDS, and 6 nonsmoking adults. To examine genetic regulation, we used univariate and logistic regression analyses to detect associations between common SP-B (SFTPB) genotypes and SP-B peptides in the neonatal RDS cohort.
RESULTS - We found pro-SP-B peptides in 24/24 amniotic fluid samples and in 100/101 tracheal aspirates from newborn infants but none in bronchoalveolar lavage from normal adults (0/6) (p < 0.001). We detected an association (p = 0.0011) between pro-SP-B peptides (M(r) 40 and 42 kDa) and genotype of a nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphism at genomic position 1580 that regulates amino-terminus glycosylation.
CONCLUSIONS - Pro-SP-B peptides are more common in developmentally less mature humans. Association of genotype at genomic position 1580 with pro-SP-B peptides (M(r) 40 and 42 kDa) suggests genetic regulation of amino terminus glycosylation in vivo.