Human herpesvirus-8 infection of primary pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells

20 Scopus citations


Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) is the causative agent of Kaposi's sarcoma and is associated with the angioproliferative disorders primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman's disease. Evidence of HHV-8 infection within the pulmonary vasculature of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) has been described. We hypothesize that HHV-8 infection of pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells results in an apoptotic-resistant phenotype characteristic of severe pulmonary arterial hypertension. Our objective was to investigate the ability of HHV-8 to infect human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells in vitro and characterize the phenotypic effect of this infection. Human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells were exposed to HHV-8 using two methods (direct virus and co-culture technique). The presence of lytic and latent infection was confirmed. Changes in endothelial cell gene and protein expression and effects on cellular apoptosis were measured. HHV-8 can both lytically and latently infect primary human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells in vitro. HHV-8 infection results in significant changes in gene expression, including alterations of pathways important to cellular apoptosis. HHV-8 infection also alters expression of genes integral to the bone morphogenic protein pathway, including down-regulation of bone morphogenic protein-4. Other genes previously implicated in the development of PAH are affected by HHV-8 infection, and cells infected with HHV-8 are resistant to apoptosis.



  • Endothelial cells
  • HHV-8
  • Pulmonary hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this

Bull, T. M., Meadows, C. A., Coldren, C. D., Moore, M., Sotto-Santiago, S. M., Nana-Sinkam, S. P., Campbell, T. B., & Geraci, M. W. (2008). Human herpesvirus-8 infection of primary pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells. American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology, 39(6), 706-716.