We previously reported Rho kinase is involved in vessel hyper-permeability caused by burns. Here we further explore the Rho kinase downstream signaling, it is found that its specific inhibitor Y27632 significantly diminishes the activation of JNK and p38 MAPKs but not ERK that induced by serum from burned rats (burn-serum). JNK activation was found involved in the expression of HUVEC adhesion molecules following thermal injury, although not in the process of stress fiber formation. Inhibition of various MAPKs by specific inhibitors showed that SB203580 (inhibitor of p38), but neither SP600125 (inhibitor of JNK) nor PD98059 (inhibitor of ERK), abolish activation of the p38 downstream kinase MK2. Demonstration of stress fibers by fluorescent-labeled phalloidin showed that inhibition of MK2, either by its specific inhibitor or by dominant negative adeno-viral-carried constructs, significantly reduced burn-serum-induced HUVEC stress-fiber formation, while inhibition of another downstream p38 MAPK kinase, PRAK, had no such effects. Transfection of dominant negative adeno-viral MK2 (Ad-MK2(A)) significantly inhibited thermal injury-induced blood vessel hyper-permeability in rats and, moreover, prolonged the survival of burned rats beyond 72 h following thermal injury. One of the mechanisms behind these phenomena is that Ad-MK2(A) causes a significant depression of burn-serum-induced HSP27-phosphorylation, while the adeno-viral transported dominant negative PRAK (Ad-PRAK(A)) does not block. Although the effect of blockade of MK2 through its adeno-viral approach requires further study and investigation of alternatives to know for sure, we may have found a new pathway behind thermal-injury-induced blood vessel hyper-permeability, namely: Rho kinase>p38>MK2>HSP27. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd and ISBI. All rights reserved.