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Investigating the Effect of Medium Chain Triglycerides on the Elasticity of Pulmonary Surfactant



Dominik Dziura, Stuart R. Castillo, Mitchell DiPasquale, Omotaya Gbadamosi, Piotr Zolnierczuk, Michihiro Nagao, Elizabeth Kelley, Drew Marquardt


In recent years, vaping has increased in both popularity and ease of access. This has led to an outbreak of a relatively new condition known as e-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI). This injury can be caused by physical interactions between the pulmonary surfactant (PS) in the lungs and toxins typically found in vaping solutions, such as medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT has been largely used as a carrier agent within many cannabis products commercially available on the market. Pulmonary surfactant ensures proper respiration by maintaining low surface tensions and interface stability throughout each respiratory cycle. Therefore any impediments to this system that negatively affects the efficacy of this function will have a strong hindrance on the individual's quality of life. Herein, neutron spin echo (NSE) and Langmuir trough rheology were used to probe the effects of MCT on the mechanical properties of pulmonary surfactant. Alongside a porcine surfactant extract, two lipid-only mimics of progressing complexity were used to study MCT effects in a range of systems that are representative of endogenous surfactant. MCT was shown to have a greater biophysical effect on bilayer systems compared to monolayers, which may align with biological data to propose a mechanism of surfactant inhibition by MCT oil.
Chemical Research in Toxicology


triglyceride, MCT, lipid membrane, lipid monolayer, pulmonary surfactant, NSE, Langmuir trough


Dziura, D. , Castillo, S. , DiPasquale, M. , Gbadamosi, O. , Zolnierczuk, P. , Nagao, M. , Kelley, E. and Marquardt, D. (2023), Investigating the Effect of Medium Chain Triglycerides on the Elasticity of Pulmonary Surfactant, Chemical Research in Toxicology, [online], (Accessed July 25, 2024)


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Created April 17, 2023, Updated January 23, 2024