A generic term for fats and lipoids, the alcohol-ether-soluble constituents of protoplasm, which are insoluble in water. They comprise the fats, fatty oils, essential oils, waxes, phospholipids, glycolipids, sulfolipids, aminolipids, chromolipids (lipochromes), and fatty acids. (Grant & Hackh's Chemical Dictionary, 5th ed)
Lipid A is the biologically active component of lipopolysaccharides. It shows strong endotoxic activity and exhibits immunogenic properties.
Peroxides produced in the presence of a free radical by the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids in the cell in the presence of molecular oxygen. The formation of lipid peroxides results in the destruction of the original lipid leading to the loss of integrity of the membranes. They therefore cause a variety of toxic effects in vivo and their formation is considered a pathological process in biological systems. Their formation can be inhibited by antioxidants, such as vitamin E, structural separation or low oxygen tension.
Lipids containing one or more phosphate groups, particularly those derived from either glycerol (phosphoglycerides see GLYCEROPHOSPHOLIPIDS) or sphingosine (SPHINGOLIPIDS). They are polar lipids that are of great importance for the structure and function of cell membranes and are the most abundant of membrane lipids, although not stored in large amounts in the system.
Artificial, single or multilaminar vesicles (made from lecithins or other lipids) that are used for the delivery of a variety of biological molecules or molecular complexes to cells, for example, drug delivery and gene transfer. They are also used to study membranes and membrane proteins.
Lipid Metabolism Disorders
Chromatography, Thin Layer
Lipid-protein complexes involved in the transportation and metabolism of lipids in the body. They are spherical particles consisting of a hydrophobic core of TRIGLYCERIDES and CHOLESTEROL ESTERS surrounded by a layer of hydrophilic free CHOLESTEROL; PHOSPHOLIPIDS; and APOLIPOPROTEINS. Lipoproteins are classified by their varying buoyant density and sizes.
Single membrane vesicles, generally made of PHOSPHOLIPIDS.
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
A chemical reaction in which an electron is transferred from one molecule to another. The electron-donating molecule is the reducing agent or reductant; the electron-accepting molecule is the oxidizing agent or oxidant. Reducing and oxidizing agents function as conjugate reductant-oxidant pairs or redox pairs (Lehninger, Principles of Biochemistry, 1982, p471).
The property of objects that determines the direction of heat flow when they are placed in direct thermal contact. The temperature is the energy of microscopic motions (vibrational and translational) of the particles of atoms.
Molecular Sequence Data
Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.
Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
A class of lipoproteins of small size (18-25 nm) and light (1.019-1.063 g/ml) particles with a core composed mainly of CHOLESTEROL ESTERS and smaller amounts of TRIGLYCERIDES. The surface monolayer consists mostly of PHOSPHOLIPIDS, a single copy of APOLIPOPROTEIN B-100, and free cholesterol molecules. The main LDL function is to transport cholesterol and cholesterol esters to extrahepatic tissues.
A group of GLYCOLIPIDS in which the sugar group is GALACTOSE. They are distinguished from GLYCOSPHINGOLIPIDS in lacking nitrogen. They constitute the majority of MEMBRANE LIPIDS in PLANTS.
Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
LIPOLYSIS of stored LIPIDS in the ADIPOSE TISSUE to release FREE FATTY ACIDS. Mobilization of stored lipids is under the regulation of lipolytic signals (CATECHOLAMINES) or anti-lipolytic signals (INSULIN) via their actions on the hormone-sensitive LIPASE. This concept does not include lipid transport.
Derivatives of phosphatidic acid in which the hydrophobic regions are composed of two fatty acids and a polar alcohol is joined to the C-3 position of glycerol through a phosphodiester bond. They are named according to their polar head groups, such as phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine.
GLYCEROL esterified with FATTY ACIDS.
Fractionation of a vaporized sample as a consequence of partition between a mobile gaseous phase and a stationary phase held in a column. Two types are gas-solid chromatography, where the fixed phase is a solid, and gas-liquid, in which the stationary phase is a nonvolatile liquid supported on an inert solid matrix.
Members of the class of neutral glycosphingolipids. They are the basic units of SPHINGOLIPIDS. They are sphingoids attached via their amino groups to a long chain fatty acyl group. They abnormally accumulate in FABRY DISEASE.
Calorimetry, Differential Scanning
A class of membrane lipids that have a polar head and two nonpolar tails. They are composed of one molecule of the long-chain amino alcohol sphingosine (4-sphingenine) or one of its derivatives, one molecule of a long-chain acid, a polar head alcohol and sometimes phosphoric acid in diester linkage at the polar head group. (Lehninger et al, Principles of Biochemistry, 2nd ed)
Protein components on the surface of LIPOPROTEINS. They form a layer surrounding the hydrophobic lipid core. There are several classes of apolipoproteins with each playing a different role in lipid transport and LIPID METABOLISM. These proteins are synthesized mainly in the LIVER and the INTESTINES.
Substances that lower the levels of certain LIPIDS in the BLOOD. They are used to treat HYPERLIPIDEMIAS.
A class of lipoproteins of small size (4-13 nm) and dense (greater than 1.063 g/ml) particles. HDL lipoproteins, synthesized in the liver without a lipid core, accumulate cholesterol esters from peripheral tissues and transport them to the liver for re-utilization or elimination from the body (the reverse cholesterol transport). Their major protein component is APOLIPOPROTEIN A-I. HDL also shuttle APOLIPOPROTEINS C and APOLIPOPROTEINS E to and from triglyceride-rich lipoproteins during their catabolism. HDL plasma level has been inversely correlated with the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Particles consisting of aggregates of molecules held loosely together by secondary bonds. The surface of micelles are usually comprised of amphiphatic compounds that are oriented in a way that minimizes the energy of interaction between the micelle and its environment. Liquids that contain large numbers of suspended micelles are referred to as EMULSIONS.
Major structural proteins of triacylglycerol-rich LIPOPROTEINS. There are two forms, apolipoprotein B-100 and apolipoprotein B-48, both derived from a single gene. ApoB-100 expressed in the liver is found in low-density lipoproteins (LIPOPROTEINS, LDL; LIPOPROTEINS, VLDL). ApoB-48 expressed in the intestine is found in CHYLOMICRONS. They are important in the biosynthesis, transport, and metabolism of triacylglycerol-rich lipoproteins. Plasma Apo-B levels are high in atherosclerotic patients but non-detectable in ABETALIPOPROTEINEMIA.
The most abundant protein component of HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS or HDL. This protein serves as an acceptor for CHOLESTEROL released from cells thus promoting efflux of cholesterol to HDL then to the LIVER for excretion from the body (reverse cholesterol transport). It also acts as a cofactor for LECITHIN CHOLESTEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE that forms CHOLESTEROL ESTERS on the HDL particles. Mutations of this gene APOA1 cause HDL deficiency, such as in FAMILIAL ALPHA LIPOPROTEIN DEFICIENCY DISEASE and in some patients with TANGIER DISEASE.
Specialized connective tissue composed of fat cells (ADIPOCYTES). It is the site of stored FATS, usually in the form of TRIGLYCERIDES. In mammals, there are two types of adipose tissue, the WHITE FAT and the BROWN FAT. Their relative distributions vary in different species with most adipose tissue being white.
Transport proteins that carry specific substances in the blood or across cell membranes.
Amino Acid Sequence
Colloids formed by the combination of two immiscible liquids such as oil and water. Lipid-in-water emulsions are usually liquid, like milk or lotion. Water-in-lipid emulsions tend to be creams. The formation of emulsions may be aided by amphiphatic molecules that surround one component of the system to form MICELLES.
The metabolic process of breaking down LIPIDS to release FREE FATTY ACIDS, the major oxidative fuel for the body. Lipolysis may involve dietary lipids in the DIGESTIVE TRACT, circulating lipids in the BLOOD, and stored lipids in the ADIPOSE TISSUE or the LIVER. A number of enzymes are involved in such lipid hydrolysis, such as LIPASE and LIPOPROTEIN LIPASE from various tissues.
Microscopy using an electron beam, instead of light, to visualize the sample, thereby allowing much greater magnification. The interactions of ELECTRONS with specimens are used to provide information about the fine structure of that specimen. In TRANSMISSION ELECTRON MICROSCOPY the reactions of the electrons that are transmitted through the specimen are imaged. In SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPY an electron beam falls at a non-normal angle on the specimen and the image is derived from the reactions occurring above the plane of the specimen.
The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activation is part of the platelet activation signal pathway.
A group of fatty acids that contain 18 carbon atoms and a double bond at the omega 9 carbon.
Acidic phospholipids composed of two molecules of phosphatidic acid covalently linked to a molecule of glycerol. They occur primarily in mitochondrial inner membranes and in bacterial plasma membranes. They are the main antigenic components of the Wassermann-type antigen that is used in nontreponemal SYPHILIS SERODIAGNOSIS.
Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
The thermodynamic interaction between a substance and WATER.
Eighteen-carbon essential fatty acids that contain two double bonds.
A rigorously mathematical analysis of energy relationships (heat, work, temperature, and equilibrium). It describes systems whose states are determined by thermal parameters, such as temperature, in addition to mechanical and electromagnetic parameters. (From Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 12th ed)
A group of 16-carbon fatty acids that contain no double bonds.
A 51-amino acid pancreatic hormone that plays a major role in the regulation of glucose metabolism, directly by suppressing endogenous glucose production (GLYCOGENOLYSIS; GLUCONEOGENESIS) and indirectly by suppressing GLUCAGON secretion and LIPOLYSIS. Native insulin is a globular protein comprised of a zinc-coordinated hexamer. Each insulin monomer containing two chains, A (21 residues) and B (30 residues), linked by two disulfide bonds. Insulin is used as a drug to control insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (DIABETES MELLITUS, TYPE 1).
Derivatives of PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINES obtained by their partial hydrolysis which removes one of the fatty acid moieties.
Lipid-containing polysaccharides which are endotoxins and important group-specific antigens. They are often derived from the cell wall of gram-negative bacteria and induce immunoglobulin secretion. The lipopolysaccharide molecule consists of three parts: LIPID A, core polysaccharide, and O-specific chains (O ANTIGENS). When derived from Escherichia coli, lipopolysaccharides serve as polyclonal B-cell mitogens commonly used in laboratory immunology. (From Dorland, 28th ed)
Enzymes from the transferase class that catalyze the transfer of acyl groups from donor to acceptor, forming either esters or amides. (From Enzyme Nomenclature 1992) EC 2.3.
Nonionic surfactant mixtures varying in the number of repeating ethoxy (oxy-1,2-ethanediyl) groups. They are used as detergents, emulsifiers, wetting agents, defoaming agents, etc. Octoxynol-9, the compound with 9 repeating ethoxy groups, is a spermatocide.
The process of moving proteins from one cellular compartment (including extracellular) to another by various sorting and transport mechanisms such as gated transport, protein translocation, and vesicular transport.
A trihydroxy sugar alcohol that is an intermediate in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is used as a solvent, emollient, pharmaceutical agent, and sweetening agent.
Protein Structure, Tertiary
The level of protein structure in which combinations of secondary protein structures (alpha helices, beta sheets, loop regions, and motifs) pack together to form folded shapes called domains. Disulfide bridges between cysteines in two different parts of the polypeptide chain along with other interactions between the chains play a role in the formation and stabilization of tertiary structure. Small proteins usually consist of only one domain but larger proteins may contain a number of domains connected by segments of polypeptide chain which lack regular secondary structure.
A class of protein components which can be found in several lipoproteins including HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS; VERY-LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS; and CHYLOMICRONS. Synthesized in most organs, Apo E is important in the global transport of lipids and cholesterol throughout the body. Apo E is also a ligand for LDL receptors (RECEPTORS, LDL) that mediates the binding, internalization, and catabolism of lipoprotein particles in cells. There are several allelic isoforms (such as E2, E3, and E4). Deficiency or defects in Apo E are causes of HYPERLIPOPROTEINEMIA TYPE III.
The scattering of x-rays by matter, especially crystals, with accompanying variation in intensity due to interference effects. Analysis of the crystal structure of materials is performed by passing x-rays through them and registering the diffraction image of the rays (CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, X-RAY). (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)
Measurement of the polarization of fluorescent light from solutions or microscopic specimens. It is used to provide information concerning molecular size, shape, and conformation, molecular anisotropy, electronic energy transfer, molecular interaction, including dye and coenzyme binding, and the antigen-antibody reaction.
A status with BODY WEIGHT that is grossly above the acceptable or desirable weight, usually due to accumulation of excess FATS in the body. The standards may vary with age, sex, genetic or cultural background. In the BODY MASS INDEX, a BMI greater than 30.0 kg/m2 is considered obese, and a BMI greater than 40.0 kg/m2 is considered morbidly obese (MORBID OBESITY).
A class of lipoproteins of very light (0.93-1.006 g/ml) large size (30-80 nm) particles with a core composed mainly of TRIGLYCERIDES and a surface monolayer of PHOSPHOLIPIDS and CHOLESTEROL into which are imbedded the apolipoproteins B, E, and C. VLDL facilitates the transport of endogenously made triglycerides to extrahepatic tissues. As triglycerides and Apo C are removed, VLDL is converted to INTERMEDIATE-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS, then to LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS from which cholesterol is delivered to the extrahepatic tissues.
A group of compounds that contain a bivalent O-O group, i.e., the oxygen atoms are univalent. They can either be inorganic or organic in nature. Such compounds release atomic (nascent) oxygen readily. Thus they are strong oxidizing agents and fire hazards when in contact with combustible materials, especially under high-temperature conditions. The chief industrial uses of peroxides are as oxidizing agents, bleaching agents, and initiators of polymerization. (From Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 11th ed)
Salts and esters of the 12-carbon saturated monocarboxylic acid--lauric acid.
Protein Structure, Secondary
The level of protein structure in which regular hydrogen-bond interactions within contiguous stretches of polypeptide chain give rise to alpha helices, beta strands (which align to form beta sheets) or other types of coils. This is the first folding level of protein conformation.
Specific particles of membrane-bound organized living substances present in eukaryotic cells, such as the MITOCHONDRIA; the GOLGI APPARATUS; ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM; LYSOSOMES; PLASTIDS; and VACUOLES.
Members of the class of compounds composed of AMINO ACIDS joined together by peptide bonds between adjacent amino acids into linear, branched or cyclical structures. OLIGOPEPTIDES are composed of approximately 2-12 amino acids. Polypeptides are composed of approximately 13 or more amino acids. PROTEINS are linear polypeptides that are normally synthesized on RIBOSOMES.
Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors
A homologous group of cyclic GLUCANS consisting of alpha-1,4 bound glucose units obtained by the action of cyclodextrin glucanotransferase on starch or similar substrates. The enzyme is produced by certain species of Bacillus. Cyclodextrins form inclusion complexes with a wide variety of substances.
Thickening and loss of elasticity of the walls of ARTERIES of all sizes. There are many forms classified by the types of lesions and arteries involved, such as ATHEROSCLEROSIS with fatty lesions in the ARTERIAL INTIMA of medium and large muscular arteries.
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
A species of gram-negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacteria (GRAM-NEGATIVE FACULTATIVELY ANAEROBIC RODS) commonly found in the lower part of the intestine of warm-blooded animals. It is usually nonpathogenic, but some strains are known to produce DIARRHEA and pyogenic infections. Pathogenic strains (virotypes) are classified by their specific pathogenic mechanisms such as toxins (ENTEROTOXIGENIC ESCHERICHIA COLI), etc.
The characteristic 3-dimensional shape of a protein, including the secondary, supersecondary (motifs), tertiary (domains) and quaternary structure of the peptide chain. PROTEIN STRUCTURE, QUATERNARY describes the conformation assumed by multimeric proteins (aggregates of more than one polypeptide chain).
The adherence and merging of cell membranes, intracellular membranes, or artificial membranes to each other or to viruses, parasites, or interstitial particles through a variety of chemical and physical processes.
Substances used to lower plasma CHOLESTEROL levels.
Structural proteins of the alpha-lipoproteins (HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS), including APOLIPOPROTEIN A-I and APOLIPOPROTEIN A-II. They can modulate the activity of LECITHIN CHOLESTEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE. These apolipoproteins are low in atherosclerotic patients. They are either absent or present in extremely low plasma concentration in TANGIER DISEASE.
The relatively long-lived phagocytic cell of mammalian tissues that are derived from blood MONOCYTES. Main types are PERITONEAL MACROPHAGES; ALVEOLAR MACROPHAGES; HISTIOCYTES; KUPFFER CELLS of the liver; and OSTEOCLASTS. They may further differentiate within chronic inflammatory lesions to EPITHELIOID CELLS or may fuse to form FOREIGN BODY GIANT CELLS or LANGHANS GIANT CELLS. (from The Dictionary of Cell Biology, Lackie and Dow, 3rd ed.)
Molecules which contain an atom or a group of atoms exhibiting an unpaired electron spin that can be detected by electron spin resonance spectroscopy and can be bonded to another molecule. (McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Chemical and Technical Terms, 4th ed)
An enzyme of the hydrolase class that catalyzes the reaction of triacylglycerol and water to yield diacylglycerol and a fatty acid anion. The enzyme hydrolyzes triacylglycerols in chylomicrons, very-low-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, and diacylglycerols. It occurs on capillary endothelial surfaces, especially in mammary, muscle, and adipose tissue. Genetic deficiency of the enzyme causes familial hyperlipoproteinemia Type I. (Dorland, 27th ed) EC 184.108.40.206.
Derivatives of ACETIC ACID. Included under this heading are a broad variety of acid forms, salts, esters, and amides that contain the carboxymethane structure.
Strains of mice in which certain GENES of their GENOMES have been disrupted, or "knocked-out". To produce knockouts, using RECOMBINANT DNA technology, the normal DNA sequence of the gene being studied is altered to prevent synthesis of a normal gene product. Cloned cells in which this DNA alteration is successful are then injected into mouse EMBRYOS to produce chimeric mice. The chimeric mice are then bred to yield a strain in which all the cells of the mouse contain the disrupted gene. Knockout mice are used as EXPERIMENTAL ANIMAL MODELS for diseases (DISEASE MODELS, ANIMAL) and to clarify the functions of the genes.
Protein-lipid combinations abundant in brain tissue, but also present in a wide variety of animal and plant tissues. In contrast to lipoproteins, they are insoluble in water, but soluble in a chloroform-methanol mixture. The protein moiety has a high content of hydrophobic amino acids. The associated lipids consist of a mixture of GLYCEROPHOSPHATES; CEREBROSIDES; and SULFOGLYCOSPHINGOLIPIDS; while lipoproteins contain PHOSPHOLIPIDS; CHOLESTEROL; and TRIGLYCERIDES.
Linear POLYPEPTIDES that are synthesized on RIBOSOMES and may be further modified, crosslinked, cleaved, or assembled into complex proteins with several subunits. The specific sequence of AMINO ACIDS determines the shape the polypeptide will take, during PROTEIN FOLDING, and the function of the protein.
Endocytic/exocytic CELL MEMBRANE STRUCTURES rich in glycosphingolipids, cholesterol, and lipid-anchored membrane proteins that function in ENDOCYTOSIS (potocytosis), transcytosis, and SIGNAL TRANSDUCTION. Caveolae assume various shapes from open pits to closed vesicles. Caveolar coats are composed of CAVEOLINS.
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
A microanalytical technique combining mass spectrometry and gas chromatography for the qualitative as well as quantitative determinations of compounds.
Highly reactive molecules with an unsatisfied electron valence pair. Free radicals are produced in both normal and pathological processes. They are proven or suspected agents of tissue damage in a wide variety of circumstances including radiation, damage from environment chemicals, and aging. Natural and pharmacological prevention of free radical damage is being actively investigated.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
A technique applicable to the wide variety of substances which exhibit paramagnetism because of the magnetic moments of unpaired electrons. The spectra are useful for detection and identification, for determination of electron structure, for study of interactions between molecules, and for measurement of nuclear spins and moments. (From McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 7th edition) Electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR) spectroscopy is a variant of the technique which can give enhanced resolution. Electron spin resonance analysis can now be used in vivo, including imaging applications such as MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING.
Forms to which substances are incorporated to improve the delivery and the effectiveness of drugs. Drug carriers are used in drug-delivery systems such as the controlled-release technology to prolong in vivo drug actions, decrease drug metabolism, and reduce drug toxicity. Carriers are also used in designs to increase the effectiveness of drug delivery to the target sites of pharmacological actions. Liposomes, albumin microspheres, soluble synthetic polymers, DNA complexes, protein-drug conjugates, and carrier erythrocytes among others have been employed as biodegradable drug carriers.
Measurable and quantifiable biological parameters (e.g., specific enzyme concentration, specific hormone concentration, specific gene phenotype distribution in a population, presence of biological substances) which serve as indices for health- and physiology-related assessments, such as disease risk, psychiatric disorders, environmental exposure and its effects, disease diagnosis, metabolic processes, substance abuse, pregnancy, cell line development, epidemiologic studies, etc.
A tripeptide with many roles in cells. It conjugates to drugs to make them more soluble for excretion, is a cofactor for some enzymes, is involved in protein disulfide bond rearrangement and reduces peroxides.
Red blood cells. Mature erythrocytes are non-nucleated, biconcave disks containing HEMOGLOBIN whose function is to transport OXYGEN.
A system of cisternae in the CYTOPLASM of many cells. In places the endoplasmic reticulum is continuous with the plasma membrane (CELL MEMBRANE) or outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. If the outer surfaces of the endoplasmic reticulum membranes are coated with ribosomes, the endoplasmic reticulum is said to be rough-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, ROUGH); otherwise it is said to be smooth-surfaced (ENDOPLASMIC RETICULUM, SMOOTH). (King & Stansfield, A Dictionary of Genetics, 4th ed)
Microscopy, Atomic Force
A type of scanning probe microscopy in which a probe systematically rides across the surface of a sample being scanned in a raster pattern. The vertical position is recorded as a spring attached to the probe rises and falls in response to peaks and valleys on the surface. These deflections produce a topographic map of the sample.
The quantity of volume or surface area of ORGANELLES.
A six carbon compound related to glucose. It is found naturally in citrus fruits and many vegetables. Ascorbic acid is an essential nutrient in human diets, and necessary to maintain connective tissue and bone. Its biologically active form, vitamin C, functions as a reducing agent and coenzyme in several metabolic pathways. Vitamin C is considered an antioxidant.
Substances and drugs that lower the SURFACE TENSION of the mucoid layer lining the PULMONARY ALVEOLI.