Elevated serum substance P during simian varicella virus infection in rhesus macaques: implications for chronic inflammation and adverse cerebrovascular events

J Neurovirol. 2020 Dec;26(6):945-951. doi: 10.1007/s13365-020-00907-3. Epub 2020 Sep 22.


Varicella and zoster, produced by varicella-zoster virus (VZV), are associated with an increased risk of stroke that may be due to persistent inflammation and hypercoagulability. Because substance P is associated with inflammation, hypercoagulability, and atherosclerotic plaque rupture that may contribute to increased stroke risk after VZV infection, we measured serum substance P in simian varicella virus-infected rhesus macaques. We found significantly increased and persistent serum substance P concentrations during varicella and zoster compared with pre-inoculation, supporting the hypothesis that VZV-induced increases in serum substance P may contribute to increased stroke risk associated with VZV infection.

Keywords: Simian varicella virus; Stroke; Substance P; Varicella; Zoster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Gene Expression
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / immunology*
  • Herpesvirus 3, Human / pathogenicity
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Inflammation
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Stroke / genetics
  • Stroke / immunology
  • Stroke / veterinary
  • Substance P / blood
  • Substance P / genetics*
  • Substance P / immunology
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage
  • Varicella Zoster Virus Infection / complications
  • Varicella Zoster Virus Infection / genetics
  • Varicella Zoster Virus Infection / immunology*
  • Varicella Zoster Virus Infection / veterinary*
  • Virus Activation / immunology*
  • Whole-Body Irradiation


  • Biomarkers
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Substance P
  • Tacrolimus