Distribution of Clara cell secretory protein expression in the tracheobronchial airways of rhesus monkeys

John T. Coppens, Laura S. Van Winkle, Kent E Pinkerton, Charles Plopper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) is a protective lung protein that is believed to have antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anticarcinogenic properties; to be present in all adult mammals; and to be well conserved in rodents, humans, and nonhuman primates. The rationale for this study is to define the distribution and abundance of CCSP in the airway epithelium and lavage fluid of the adult rhesus monkey and to provide information for evaluating CCSP as a marker of Clara cells and as a biomarker of lung health. Lung tissue and lavage fluid from 3-yr-old rhesus monkeys were examined using histopathology and immunohistochemistry. Proximal bronchi, midlevel bronchi, and terminal/ respiratory bronchioles were compared for immunohistochemical localization of CCSP in three-dimensional whole mounts as well as in paraffin and Araldite sections. Immunoreactive CCSP was found in nonciliated cells throughout the airway epithelium. Proximal and midlevel airways had the highest labeling. CCSP decreased in distal airways, and respiratory bronchioles had little to no CCSP. CCSP in the most distal airways was in tall cuboidal cells adjacent to the pulmonary artery. Although a large number of cells were present in the terminal bronchioles that would be classified as Clara cells based on morphology (nonciliated cells with apical protrusions), only a small number stained positively for immunoreactive CCSP. Semiquantitative analysis of Western blots indicated that changes in lavage CCSP are consistent with, and may be predictive of, overall CCSP levels in the airway epithelium in this primate species that is phylogenetically similar to humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Bronchial epithelium
  • CC10
  • CC16
  • Lung
  • Macaca mulatta
  • SCGB 1A1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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