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Introduction: Clara cell 16-kDa protein (CC16) is an anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory secreted pulmonary protein with reduced serum concentrations in obesity according to recent data.
Objective: Studies focused solely on bodyweight, which does not properly reflect obesity-associated implications of the metabolic and reno-cardio-vascular system. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine CC16 in a broad physiological context considering cardio-metabolic comorbidities of primary pulmonary diseases.
Methods: CC16 was quantified in serum samples in a subset of the FoCus (N = 497) and two weight loss intervention cohorts (N = 99) using ELISA. Correlation and general linear regression analyses were applied to assess CC16 effects of lifestyle, gut microbiota, disease occurrence and treatment strategies. Importance and intercorrelation of determinants were validated using random forest algorithms.
Results: CC16 A38G gene mutation, smoking and low microbial diversity significantly decreased CC16. Pre-menopausal female displayed lower CC16 compared to post-menopausal female and male participants. Biological age and uricosuric medications increased CC16 (all p < 0.01). Adjusted linear regression revealed CC16 lowering effects of high waist-to-hip ratio (est. -11.19 [-19.4; -2.97], p = 7.99 × 10-3), severe obesity (est. -2.58 [-4.33; -0.82], p = 4.14 × 10-3) and hypertension (est. -4.31 [-7.5; -1.12], p = 8.48 × 10-3). ACEi/ARB medication (p = 2.5 × 10-2) and chronic heart failure (est. 4.69 [1.37; 8.02], p = 5.91 × 10-3) presented increasing effects on CC16. Mild associations of CC16 were observed with blood pressure, HOMA-IR and NT-proBNP, but not manifest hyperlipidemia, type 2 diabetes, diet quality and dietary weight loss intervention.
Conclusion: A role of metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities in the regulation of CC16 and its modifiability by behavioral and pharmacological interventions is indicated. Alterations by ACEi/ARB and uricosurics could point towards regulatory axes comprising the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and purine metabolism. Findings altogether strengthen the importance of interactions among metabolism, heart and lungs.