We previously demonstrated that dengue virus (DENV) nonstructural 4B protein (NS4B) induced dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)-associated immunomediators in THP-1 monocytes. Moreover, cleavage of NS4AB polyprotein by the NS2B3 protease, significantly increased immunomediator production to levels found after DENV infection. In this report using primary human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) transwell permeability model and HMVEC monolayer, we demonstrate that the immunomediators secreted in the supernatants of DENV-infected monocytes increase HMVEC permeability and expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1 and E-selectin. Moreover, maturation of NS4B via cleavage of 2KNS4B is sufficient to induce immunomediators that cause HMVEC phenotypic changes, which appear to be synergistically induced by TNFα and IL-8. These data suggest that therapies targeting the maturation steps of NS4B, particularly 2KNS4B processing, may reduce overall DHF-associated immunomediator levels, thereby reducing DHF-associated morbidity and mortality. Alternatively, TNFα inhibitors may be a valid intervention strategy during the later stages of infection to prevent DHF progression.
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