The alveolar-capillary unit in the physiopathological conditions of heart failure: identification of a potential marker

C. Banfi, P. Gugliandolo, S. Paolillo, A. Mallia, E. Gianazza and P. Agostoni

Eur J Prev Cardiol 2023 Vol. 30 Issue Suppl 2 Pages ii2-ii8

In this review, we describe the structure and function of the alveolar-capillary membrane and the identification of a novel potential marker of its integrity in the context of heart failure (HF). The alveolar-capillary membrane is indeed a crucial structure for the maintenance of the lung parenchyma gas exchange capacity, and the occurrence of pathological conditions determining lung fluids accumulation, such as HF, might significantly impair lung diffusion capacity altering the alveolar-capillary membrane protective functions. In the years, we found that the presence of immature forms of the surfactant protein-type B (proSP-B) in the circulation reflects alterations in the alveolar-capillary membrane integrity. We discussed our main achievements showing that proSP-B, due to its chemical properties, specifically binds to high-density lipoprotein, impairing their antioxidant activity, and likely contributing to the progression of the disease. Further, we found that immature proSP-B, not the mature protein, is related to lung abnormalities, more precisely than the lung function parameters. Thus, to the list of the potential proposed markers of HF, we add proSP-B, which represents a precise marker of alveolar-capillary membrane dysfunction in HF, correlates with prognosis, and represents a precocious marker of drug therapy