Background: The club cell secretory protein (CC16) has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and low CC16 serum levels have been associated with both risk and progression of COPD, yet the interaction between smoking and CC16 on lung function outcomes remains unknown. Methods: Utilizing cross-sectional data on United States veterans, CC16 serum concentrations were measured by ELISA and log transformed for analyses. Spirometry was conducted and COPD status was defined by post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC ratio < 0.7. Smoking measures were self-reported on questionnaire. Multivariable logistic and linear regression were employed to examine associations between CC16 levels and COPD, and lung function with adjustment for covariates. Unadjusted Pearson correlations described relationships between CC16 level and lung function measures, pack-years smoked, and years since smoking cessation. Results: The study population (N = 351) was mostly male, white, with an average age over 60 years. An interaction between CC16 and smoking status on FEV1/FVC ratio was demonstrated among subjects with COPD (N = 245, p = 0.01). There was a positive correlation among former smokers and negative correlation among current or never smokers with COPD. Among former smokers with COPD, CC16 levels were also positively correlated with years since smoking cessation, and inversely related with pack-years smoked. Increasing CC16 levels were associated with lower odds of COPD (ORadj = 0.36, 95% CI 0.22–0.57, Padj < 0.0001). Conclusions: Smoking status is an important effect modifier of CC16 relationships with lung function. Increasing serum CC16 corresponded to increases in FEV1/FVC ratio in former smokers with COPD versus opposite relationships in current or never smokers. Additional longitudinal studies may be warranted to assess relationship of CC16 with smoking cessation on lung function among subjects with COPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number247
JournalRespiratory Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • CC16
  • COPD
  • Former smokers
  • Lung function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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