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Image of the Week: Microscopic view of lung surfactant

This microscopic image of lung surfactant, a lipid-protein material that reduces surface tension in the lung and aids in proper pulmonary function, could easily be mistaken for a whimsical textile print. A recent issue of Biomedical Beat provides more information about the fanciful designs represented in the image and how they may offer insights into developing new methods for drug delivery:

Using microscopy techniques, the researchers captured a snapshot of the changes that occur (black) when surfactant molecules are stressed by carbon nanoparticles. The scientists found that if inhaled, carbon nanoparticles could influence the function of the main lipid component of surfactant. A likely gateway for nanoparticles to enter the body is through the lungs, so this and future studies may help scientists improve drug delivery methods.

Photo by University of Kansas State

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