The development of severe influenza has been attributed, in part, to a heightened innate immune response. Recent evidence suggests that endothelial activation, loss of barrier function, and consequent microvascular leak may also serve important mechanistic roles in the pathogenesis of severe influenza. The aim of this review is to summarize the current evidence in support of endothelial activation and dysfunction as a central feature preceding the development of severe influenza. We also discuss the effect of influenza on platelet-endothelial interactions.
Keywords: acute lung injury; endothelium; influenza A; microvascular leak; platelets; thrombosis.