Acute lung injury is a life-threating condition characterized by surfactant dysfunction and raised secretory
phospholipase A2 (sPLA2) activity. Varespladib is a sPLA2 inhibitor shown to be effective in animal models of acute lung
injury. We aimed at investigating the effect of co-administration of surfactant and varespladib on sPLA2 activity. Alveolar
macrophages were cultured and stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and then treated with either varespladib, surfactant,
varespladib followed by surfactant or nothing. sPLA2 activity, free fatty acids, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and protein
concentrations were measured in culture supernatants. Treatment with varespladib (p=0.019) and varespladib + surfactant
(p=0.013), reduced the enzyme activity by approximately 15% from the basal level measured in the untreated cultures.
Surfactant, varespladib and varespladib + surfactant, respectively decreased free fatty acids by -45% (p=0.045), -
62% (p=0.009) and -48% (p=0.015), from the baseline concentration of the untreated cultures. Varespladib and poractant-
α co-administration reduces sPLA2 activity and free fatty acids release in cultured rat alveolar macrophages, although a
clear drug synergy was not evident. Since co-administration may be useful to reduce inflammation and surfactant inactivation
in acute lung injury, further in vivo studies are warranted to verify its clinical usefulness.