Inherited disorders of pulmonary surfactant-associated proteins are rare but provide important insights into unique mechanisms of surfactant dysfunction. Recessive loss-of-function mutations in the surfactant protein-B and the ATP-binding cassette family member A3 (ABCA3) genes present as lethal surfactant deficiency in the newborn, whereas other recessive mutations in ABCA3 and dominant mutations in the surfactant protein-C gene result in interstitial lung disease in older infants and children. The molecular basis and the genetic and tissue-based approaches to the evaluation of children suspected of having one of these disorders are discussed.
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