Lung injury due to infection, such as in sepsis, accounts for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations a year. Sepsis occurs in 2 percent of hospital admissions and is associated with a death rate of about 50 percent. Many of these patients require ventilation to support their breathing, which may in itself produce additional injury to the lung. Yet, there are few available treatments for lung injury associated with sepsis or ventilation.
Now, scientists at Northwestern University have demonstrated that an enzyme vital to normal function of blood vessels also can be an Achilles heel during infection-induced or ventilator-induced lung injury. They believe that the enzyme holds significant potential as a drug discovery target for the treatment of acute lung injury.
As described in the May issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mark Wainwright, M.D., and D. Martin Watterson identified a molecule, called myosin light chain kinase 210 (MLCK 210), that makes endothelial cells in the lung susceptible to injury during periods of inflammation.
Elizabeth Crown | EurekAlert!
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