RFG2 Center Synergies

  • Scientists who are leaders in multidisciplinary team efforts that have contributed to alleviating toxicity-related health problems are particularly attractive candidates.  
  • Club (Clara) Cell Secretory Protein (CCSP, or CC16) is produced mainly by non-ciliated airway epithelial cells including bronchiolar club cells and the change of its expression has been shown to associate with the progress and severity of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In an animal model, the lack of CC16 renders the animal susceptible to the tumorigenic effect of a major CS carcinogen. A recent population-based Tucson Epidemiological Study of Airway Obstructive Diseases (TESAOD) has indicated that the low serum CC16 concentration is closely linked with the smoke-related mortality, particularly that driven by the lung cancer. However, the study of CC16 expression in well-defined smoke exposure models has been lacking, and there is no experimental support for the potential causal link between CC16 and CS-induced pathophysiological changes in the lung. In the present study, we have found that airway CC16 expression was significantly repressed in COPD patients, in monkey CS exposure model, and in CS-induced mouse model of COPD. Additionally, the lack of CC16 exacerbated airway inflammation and alveolar loss in the mouse model. Therefore, CC16 may play an important protective role in CS-related diseases.  
  • Arsenic exposure from drinking water is associated with adverse respiratory outcomes, but it is unknown whether arsenic affects pulmonary microbiota. This exploratory study assessed the effect of exposure to arsenic in drinking water on bacterial diversity in the respiratory tract of non-smokers. Induced sputum was collected from 10 subjects with moderate mean household water arsenic concentration (21.1 ± 6.4 ppb) and 10 subjects with low household water arsenic (2.4 ± 0.8 ppb). To assess microbiota in sputum, the V6 hypervariable region amplicons of bacterial 16s rRNA genes were sequenced using the Ion Torrent Personal Genome Machine. Microbial community differences between arsenic exposure groups were evaluated using QIIME and Metastats. A total of 3,920,441 sequence reads, ranging from 37,935 to 508,787 per sample for 316 chips after QIIME quality filtering, were taxonomically classified into 142 individual genera and five phyla. Firmicutes (22%), Proteobacteria (17%) and Bacteriodetes (12%) were the main phyla in all samples, with Neisseriaceae (15%), Prevotellaceae (12%) and Veillonellacea (7%) being most common at the genus level. Some genera, including Gemella, Lactobacillales, Streptococcus, Neisseria and Pasteurellaceae were elevated in the moderate arsenic exposure group, while Rothia, Prevotella, Prevotellaceae Fusobacterium and Neisseriaceae were decreased, although none of these differences was statistically significant. Future studies with more participants and a greater range of arsenic exposure are needed to further elucidate the effects of drinking water arsenic consumption on respiratory microbiota.