Per Larsson

About Per Larsson

I am part of a research team with a focus on small airway diseases. The small airways are important for respiration and at the same time highly exposed to our environment. The pathology behind many airway diseases is not well known and this is partly due to the difficulty in retrieving biological samples from this inaccessible region. To address this, we have developed the non-invasive PExA sampling method for collecting small airway lining fluid. For this work our research group received the Arvid Carlsson award from Sahlgrenska Science Park in 2020 ( The sampling method is based on using deep breathing manoeuvres that induce particle formation in small airways. The small droplets of airway lining fluid are then transported with breath from small airways to the mouth where they can be collected from the aerosol by the impaction (inertia) principle. The sampled amount of lung lining fluid is only around 100 nanogram for a breathing time of 10 minutes. With this non-invasive sampling method, it is very cheap and easy to collect samples of small airway lining fluid. The samples are small but of high purity and with modern analytical methods the amount of sample is usually sufficient for a broad range of lipids and proteins to be analysed.

The small airways are covered with airway lining fluid that have a lipid film called lung surfactant that lines the air-liquid interface. The lung surfactant is essential for lung function as it facilitates breathing by lowering surface tension but it also constitute the first barrier to inhaled toxic material. Lipids are a diverse class of compounds with many different functions, not only for metabolism but also for immunomodulation and cell signaling. The many different roles of lipids have gained more attention in recent years and increased the interest in lipidomics. To be able to understand the different functions of lipids and how they are connected to the development of disease we have built an advanced lipidomic lab. We have developed highly automated workflows where we apply state of the art chromatography and mass spectrometry (Waters Aqcuity I-Class Plus coupled to a Xevo TQXS mass detector). During our collaborations with other research groups, we have developed lipidomic methods for an number of different sample types such as exhaled breath, cellular lavages, extra cellular vesicles and bronchoalveolar alveolar lavage.