Gene Therapeutics for Surfactant Dysfunction Disorders: Targeting the Alveolar Type 2 Epithelial Cell

Sneha Sitaraman, Konstantinos Dionysios Alysandratos, Jennifer A. Wambach, Maria P. Limberis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Genetic disorders of surfactant dysfunction result in significant morbidity and mortality, among infants, children, and adults. Available medical interventions are limited, nonspecific, and generally ineffective. As such, the need for effective therapies remains. Pathogenic variants in the SFTPB, SFTPC, and ABCA3 genes, each of which encode proteins essential for proper pulmonary surfactant production and function, result in interstitial lung disease in infants, children, and adults, and lead to morbidity and early mortality. Expression of these genes is predominantly limited to the alveolar type 2 (AT2) epithelial cells present in the distal airspaces of the lungs, thus providing an unequivocal cellular origin of disease pathogenesis. While several treatment strategies are under development, a gene-based therapeutic holds great promise as a definitive therapy. Importantly for clinical translation, the genes associated with surfactant dysfunction are both well characterized and amenable to a gene-therapeutic-based strategy. This review focuses on the pathophysiology associated with these genetic disorders of surfactant dysfunction, and also provides an overview of the current state of gene-based therapeutics designed to target and transduce the AT2 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1022
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number19-20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • ABCA3
  • AT2
  • alveolar type 2 epithelial cell
  • gene therapy
  • pulmonary surfactant
  • viral vectors


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