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Circ Res. 2002 Jun 14;90(11):1214-21.

Myosin light chain phosphorylation in neutrophil-stimulated coronary microvascular leakage.

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Departments of Surgery and Medical Physiology, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Temple, Texas, USA. yuan@


Neutrophil-induced coronary microvascular leakage represents an important pathophysiological consequence of ischemic and inflammatory heart diseases. The precise mechanism by which neutrophils regulate endothelial barrier function remains to be established. The aim of this study was to examine the microvascular endothelial response to neutrophil activation with a focus on myosin light chain kinase (MLCK)-mediated myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation, a regulatory process that controls cell contraction. The apparent permeability coefficient of albumin (Pa) was measured in intact isolated porcine coronary venules. Incubation of the vessels with C5a-activated neutrophils induced a time- and concentration-dependent increase in Pa. The hyperpermeability response was significantly attenuated during inhibition of endothelial MLC phosphorylation with the selective MLCK inhibitor ML-7 and transfection of a specific MLCK-inhibiting peptide. In contrast, transfection of constitutively active MLCK elevated Pa, which was abolished by ML-7. In addition to the vessel study, albumin transendothelial flux was measured in cultured bovine coronary venular endothelial monolayers, which displayed a hyperpermeability response to neutrophils and MLCK in a pattern similar to that in venules. Importantly, neutrophil stimulation caused MLC phosphorylation in endothelial cells in a time course closely correlated with that of the hyperpermeability response. Consistently, the MLCK inhibitors abolished neutrophil-induced MLC phosphorylation. Furthermore, immunohistochemical observation of neutrophil-stimulated endothelial cells revealed an increased staining for phosphorylated MLC in association with contractile stress fiber formation and intercellular gap development. Taken together, the results suggest that endothelial MLCK activation and MLC phosphorylation play an important role in mediating endothelial barrier dysfunction during neutrophil activation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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