Preterm newborns often, require mechanical respiratory support that can result in ventilation-induced lung injury (VILI), despite exogenous surfactant treatment. Human amnion epithelial cells (hAECs) reduce lung inflammation and resultant abnormal lung development in preterm animals; co-administration with surfactant is a potential therapeutic strategy. We aimed to determine whether hAECs remain viable and maintain function after combination with surfactant. METHODS: hAECs were incubated in surfactant (Curosurf) or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) for 30 minutes at 37[degree sign]C. Cell viability, phenotype (by flow cytometry), inhibition of T-cell proliferative responses and differentiation into lung epithelial-like cells (assessed by immunohistochemical staining of surfactant protein (SP)-A) were investigated. RESULTS: Cell viability and apoptosis of hAECs were not altered by surfactant, and hAEC phenotype was not altered. hAECs maintained expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-ABC after surfactant exposure. Expression of HLA-DR, CD80 and CD86 was not increased. Immunosuppression of T-cells by hAECs was not altered by surfactant. hAEC differentiation into lung epithelial-like cells was equivalent after exposure to PBS or surfactant and SP-A expression was equivalent. CONCLUSION: Surfactant exposure does not alter viability or function of hAECs. Thus a combination therapy of hAECs and surfactant may be an efficacious therapy to ameliorate or prevent preterm lung disease.