Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the role of pulmonary surfactant-associated protein B (SP-B) expression in the pathogenesis of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) via detecting the protein and mRNA expression of SP-B.
Methods: A total of 60 unrelated neonates who died of RDS were chosen as the RDS group and then subgrouped into ≤32 weeks group, 32∼37 weeks group and ≥37 weeks group (n=20). Sixty neonates who died of other diseases were enrolled as controls and subdivided into 3 matched groups based on the gestational age. Western blot assay and RT-PCR were employed.
Results: In the RDS group, SP-B protein expression was reduced or deficient in 8 neonates of which 6 had no SP-B protein expression. In the control group, only 1 had reduced SP-B protein expression. The reduced or deficient SP-B protein expression in 9 neonates of both groups was noted in the ≥37 weeks group. In the RDS group, the SP-B mRNA expression was significantly lower than that in the control group. In the ≤37 weeks group, SP-B mRNA expression was comparable between the RDS group and control group. In the 32∼37 weeks group, the SP-B mRNA expression in the RDS group was significantly reduced when compared with the control group. In the ≥37 weeks group, the SP-B mRNA expression in the RDS group was dramatically lower than that in the control group.
Conclusions: Alteration of SP-B expression is present at transcriptional and translational levels. Reduction of SP-B mRNA and protein expression is involved in the pathogenesis of RDS.