Nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase activity modulates radiation-induced lung injury

Ting Wang, Biji Mathew, Xiaomin Wu, Yuka Shimizu, Alicia N. Rizzo, Steven M. Dudek, Ralph R. Weichselbaum, Jeffrey R. Jacobson, Louise Hecker, Joe G.N. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Radiotherapy as a primary treatment for thoracic malignancies induces deleterious effects, such as acute or subacute radiationinduced lung injury (RILI). Although the molecular etiology of RILI is controversial and likely multifactorial, a potentially important cellular target is the lung endothelial cytoskeleton that regulates paracellular gap formation and the influx of macromolecules and fluid to the alveolar space. Here we investigate the central role of a key endothelial cytoskeletal regulatory protein, the nonmuscle isoform of myosin light chain kinase (nmMLCK), in an established murine RILI model. Our results indicate that thoracic irradiation significantly augmented nmMLCK protein expression and enzymatic activity in murine lungs. Furthermore, genetically engineered mice harboring a deletion of the nmMLCK gene (nmMLCK-/- mice) exhibited protection from RILI, as assessed by attenuated vascular leakage and leukocyte infiltration. In addition, irradiated wild-type mice treated with two distinct MLCK enzymatic inhibitors, ML-7 and PIK (peptide inhibitor of kinase), also demonstrated attenuated RILI. Taken together, these data suggests a key role for nmMLCK in vascular barrier regulation in RILI and warrants further examination of RILI strategies that target nmMLCK.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-239
Number of pages6
JournalPulmonary Circulation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Nonmuscle myosin light chain kinase
  • Radiation-induced lung injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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