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Am J Physiol. 1996 Oct;271(4 Pt 1):L656-64.

Clara cell secretory protein: a determinant of PCB bioaccumulation in mammals.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229.


Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) is a product of nonciliated cells of the conducting airway epithelium. The normal physiological function of CCSP is unknown. However, the ability of CCSP to bind small lipophilic molecules, such as steroid hormones and certain pollutants, has led to speculation that this protein may mediate the biological accumulation of potentially harmful polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) metabolites within the lung. To investigate the contribution of CCSP in the in vivo accumulation of methylsulfonyl-PCB, a line of mice was established that were homozygous for a null allele of the CCSP gene. CCSP-deficient mice were healthy and fertile, with no gross physiological or pathological abnormalities Parenteral challenge with the PCB metabolite 4-methylsulfonyl-2,2',4',5,5'-pentachlorobiphenyl (MeSO2-PCB) demonstrated that CCSP-deficient mice no longer accumulate this class of pollutants within lung and kidney tissues. These data demonstrate that CCSP is the determinant for MeSO2-PCB accumulation within mice and support the notion that bioconcentration of MeSO2-PCB pollutants occurs at sites of CCSP localization, such as the respiratory and reproductive tracts of humans.

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