Patrick Belvitch, MD
Research Awards Nationwide Recipient (2015-2016)
University of Illinois at Chicago
Funded by the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Preventing Leaky Blood Vessels in the Lungs in ARDS
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a devastating form of acute lung injury that is common among critically ill patients. In a person with ARDS, protein-rich fluid leaks from blood vessels into the lungs. These leaky blood vessels can cause respiratory failure requiring prolonged stays in the intensive care unit. This leads to significant rates of illness and death. We will study the cellular mechanisms of leaky blood vessels in the lung, focusing on how specific proteins regulate the formation of gaps between cells that lead to the leakage of fluid into the lung airspaces. By understanding these mechanisms, we hope to be able to develop treatments for this condition.
Update: We have made significant progress in characterizing a protein complex called Arp 2/3, which is required to prevent gaps from forming between endothelial cells that line the surface of lung blood vessels. We have identified Arp 2/3 as playing a key role in closing gaps between cells following lung injury and have generated novel data describing the cellular mechanisms of this process. We are now investigating the relationship between Arp 2/3 and other critical regulatory proteins involved in preventing leaky blood vessels in the lung.