Proinflammatory and procoagulant effects of herpes simplex infection on human endothelium

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29 Scopus citations


Atherosclerotic lesions have been reported to contain herpes simplex virus (HSV) genomic material. This and other evidence suggests that latent viral infection may be an atherogenic trigger. Moreover, active HSV lesions manifest histologically marked fibrin deposition in microvessels. Our laboratory tested in vitro whether HSV infection would cause human umbilical vein endothelial cells to become procoagulant and attract inflammatory cells. Early infection of human endothelial cells with HSV-1 alters the surface conformation as detected by merocyanine 540 staining. The efficiency of prothrombinase complex assembly increases, resulting in a two- to threefold accelerated rate of thrombin generation on the cell surface of virally infected endothelium. HSV infection of endothelium results in a marked increase in thrombin-induced platelet adhesion with a concomitant decrease in prostacyclin secretion in response to thrombin. Viral infection enhances coagulation by decreasing endothelial thrombomodulin expression and subsequent activation of protein C. Viral infection also induces tissue factor in human endothelial cells within 4 hours of infection. Not only does the endothelial monolayer become procoagulant when infected with HSV, it also becomes a more adherent surface for granulocytes. Resting and stimulated granulocyte adherence is enhanced twofold on virally infected endothelium. Enhanced adhesion is accompanied by excessive granulocyte-mediated lysis of 51Cr-labeled HSV-infected endothelium and endothelial cell detachment from its substrate. Exaggerated endothelial detachment correlated with poor binding of infected endothelial cells to substratum matrix proteins. Resuspended virus-infected cells bound significantly less well to tissue culture containers coated with fibronectin, laminin, and type IV collagen. HSV -infected endothelium alters the anticoagulant properties of the endothelium causing it to become procoagulant. Furthermore, HSV -infected endothelium is more vulnerable to granulocyte-mediated injury. It is possible that these pathways are important in the pathophysiology of herpes simplex lesions and may be germane to atherosclerotic thrombosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-216
Number of pages8
JournalBlood Cells
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990


  • Atherogenesis
  • Endothelial injury
  • Herpes simplex virus


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