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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 Dec;281(6):L1523-30.

Altered lung gene expression in CCSP-null mice suggests immunoregulatory roles for Clara cells.

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  • 1Division of Respiratory Biology and Toxicology, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) is one of the most abundant proteins present in airway lining fluid of mammals. In an effort to elucidate the function of CCSP, we established CCSP-null [CCSP(-/-)] mice and demonstrated altered sensitivity to various environmental agents including oxidant pollutants and microorganisms. Although CCSP deficiency itself may be central to the observed changes in environmental susceptibility, altered lung gene expression associated with CCSP deficiency may contribute to the observed phenotype. To determine whether CCSP deficiency results in altered lung gene expression, high-density cDNA microarrays were used to profile gene expression in the total lung RNA of wild-type and CCSP(-/-) mice. Genes that were differentially expressed between wild-type and CCSP(-/-) mice included a previously non-annotated expressed sequence tag (EST W82219) and immunoglobulin A (IgA), both of which were elevated with CCSP deficiency. mRNA expression of EST W82219 and IgA was localized in the lungs of wild-type and CCSP(-/-) mice to airway Clara cells and peribronchial lymphoid tissues, respectively. We conclude that CCSP deficiency is associated with 1) altered gene expression in Clara cells of the conducting airway epithelium and 2) alterations to peribronchial B lymphocytes. These findings identify new roles for Clara cells and their secretions in airway homeostasis.

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