Surfactants in the lungs are secreted by type 2 alveolar cells. It reduces the surface tension in the lungs at the air-liquid interface. It optimizes the process of gas exchange. The type 2 cell is also known as the protector of the alveolar sacs. Apart from secreting surfactants, its job also involves assisting when the type 1 cell that gets easily damaged. It assists by being a progenitor cell for both types of cells
Pulmonary surfactant is a surface-active lipoprotein complex formed by type II alveolar cells. The proteins and lipids that make up the surfactant have both hydrophilic and hydrophobic regions. Hydrophilic means they mix. Hydrophobic means they don't. The surfactant absorbs into the air.
The function of the surfactant is to increase pulmonary compliance, to prevent the collapse of the lung, and to enable employment of collapsed airways. Alveoli can be likened to gas in water, as the alveoli are wet and surrounded by a central air space. The surface tension acts in the air. The gas pressure is needed to keep an equilibrium.