Vascular endothelium: the battlefield of dengue viruses

FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2008 Aug;53(3):287-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2008.00420.x. Epub 2008 Jul 3.


Increased vascular permeability without morphological damage to the capillary endothelium is the cardinal feature of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF)/dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Extensive plasma leakage in various tissue spaces and serous cavities of the body, including the pleural, pericardial and peritoneal cavities in patients with DHF, may result in profound shock. Among various mechanisms that have been considered include immune complex disease, T-cell-mediated, antibodies cross-reacting with vascular endothelium, enhancing antibodies, complement and its products, various soluble mediators including cytokines, selection of virulent strains and virus virulence, but the most favoured are enhancing antibodies and memory T cells in a secondary infection resulting in cytokine tsunami. Whatever the mechanism, it ultimately targets vascular endothelium (making it a battlefield) leading to severe dengue disease. Extensive recent work has been done in vitro on endothelial cell monolayer models to understand the pathophysiology of vascular endothelium during dengue virus (DV) infection that may be translated to help understand the pathogenesis of DHF/DSS. The present review provides a broad overview of the effects of DV infection and the associated host responses contributing towards alterations in vascular endothelial cell physiology and damage that may be responsible for the DHF/DSS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Capillary Permeability
  • Dengue Virus / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / virology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Severe Dengue / pathology