Lung disease and PKCs

Pharmacol Res. 2007 Jun;55(6):545-59. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2007.04.010. Epub 2007 Apr 29.


The lung offers a rich opportunity for development of therapeutic strategies focused on isozymes of protein kinase C (PKCs). PKCs are important in many cellular responses in the lung, and existing therapies for pulmonary disorders are inadequate. The lung poses unique challenges as it interfaces with air and blood, contains a pulmonary and systemic circulation, and consists of many cell types. Key structures are bronchial and pulmonary vessels, branching airways, and distal air sacs defined by alveolar walls containing capillaries and interstitial space. The cellular composition of each vessel, airway, and alveolar wall is heterogeneous. Injurious environmental stimuli signal through PKCs and cause a variety of disorders. Edema formation and pulmonary hypertension (PHTN) result from derangements in endothelial, smooth muscle (SM), and/or adventitial fibroblast cell phenotype. Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer are characterized by distinctive pathological changes in airway epithelial, SM, and mucous-generating cells. Acute and chronic pneumonitis and fibrosis occur in the alveolar space and interstitium with type 2 pneumocytes and interstitial fibroblasts/myofibroblasts playing a prominent role. At each site, inflammatory, immune, and vascular progenitor cells contribute to the injury and repair process. Many strategies have been used to investigate PKCs in lung injury. Isolated organ preparations and whole animal studies are powerful approaches especially when genetically engineered mice are used. More analysis of PKC isozymes in normal and diseased human lung tissue and cells is needed to complement this work. Since opposing or counter-regulatory effects of selected PKCs in the same cell or tissue have been found, it may be desirable to target more than one PKC isozyme and potentially in different directions. Because multiple signaling pathways contribute to the key cellular responses important in lung biology, therapeutic strategies targeting PKCs may be more effective if combined with inhibitors of other pathways for additive or synergistic effect. Mechanisms that regulate PKC activity, including phosphorylation and interaction with isozyme-specific binding proteins, are also potential therapeutic targets. Key isotypes of PKC involved in lung pathophysiology are summarized and current and evolving therapeutic approaches to target them are identified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / physiology
  • Lung / blood supply
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / drug therapy
  • Lung Diseases / enzymology*
  • Lung Diseases / immunology
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Mice
  • Protein Kinase C / physiology*
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Circulation


  • Isoenzymes
  • Protein Kinases
  • Protein Kinase C