CC16 Levels & Arsenic

Relevance to SWEHSC: 

CC16 is a homodimeric pneumoprotein with anti-inflammatory and anti-toxicant properties. Perhaps due to epithelial damage in the lung, circulating CC16 levels increase following acute environmental exposures such as smoking a cigarette or firefighting. Not only are CC16 levels associated with environmental exposures, but circulating CC16 levels may also be predictive of early respiratory impairments. Lower levels of circulating CC16 in adulthood have been associated with lower lung function, greater airflow limitation, and increased mortality, particularly from lung cancer. In a cross-sectional study, asthmatic children had lower levels of CC16 in their urine than non-asthmatic children, and the CC16 levels in urine were significantly related to forced vital capacity. Thus, decreased CC16 may be an important biomarker of early life epithelial and airway damage from potentially preventable environmental exposures, suggesting that interventions could be designed to prevent subsequent disease. There is also evidence that high arsenic exposure via multiple routes (i.e., inhalation, ingestion) is associated with decreased CC16 levels in adults.

Cluster of Efforts: 


  • Paloma Beamer, PhD
  • Walter Klimecki, DVM & PhD
  • Dean Billheimer, PhD
  • Stefano Guerra, PhD
  • Robert Clark Lantz, PhD
  • Fernando Martinez, MD
  • It was determined that lower levels of CC16 in children’s urine may be associated with exposure to arsenic via multiple routes.
  • Concentration of arsenic in soil in the area that surrounds a child’s dwelling may have an influence on CC16 is as important as, or even more important than, that of arsenic contained in drinking water.
  • CC16 may be a novel biomarker for assessing early damage from arsenic in a child’s environment, even at low-to-moderate levels of exposure.
  • These findings contribute to the growing evidence of potential adverse health effects associated with arsenic exposures at levels commonly encountered among rural US communities, which have been traditionally understudied.