Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) is an abundant 10-kDa polypeptide synthesized and secreted primarily by nonciliated bronchiolar epithelial cells in the mammalian lung. To determine the potential role of CCSP in pulmonary inflammation after acute viral infection, CCSP gene-targeted [CCSP- deficient [CCSP(-/-)] mice were exposed to a recombinant E1- and E3-deficient adenoviral vector, Av1Luc1, intratracheally. Lung inflammation was markedly increased in CCSP(-/-) mice compared with wild-type control mice and was associated with an increased number of polymorphonuclear cell infiltrates and epithelial cell injury in both conducting airways and alveolar regions. Histological evidence of pulmonary inflammation in CCSP(-/-) mice was associated with increased production of cytokine (interleukin-1β and -6 and tumor necrosis factor-α) mRNA and protein, as well as chemokine (macrophage inflammatory protein-1α and -2 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) mRNA expression within the lung in response to adenoviral infection. Adenoviral- mediated gene transfer was decreased in CCSP(-/-) mice relative to wild-type mice as measured by luciferase enzyme activity in lung homogenates. The present study suggests that CCSP is involved in modulating lung inflammation during vital infection and supports a role for CCSP in lung host defense.