Endothelial dysfunction through oxidatively generated epigenetic mark in respiratory viral infections

Spiros Vlahopoulos, Ke Wang, Yaoyao Xue, Xu Zheng, Istvan Boldogh, Lang Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The bronchial vascular endothelial network plays important roles in pulmonary pathology during respiratory viral infections, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A(H1N1) and importantly SARS-Cov-2. All of these infections can be severe and even lethal in patients with underlying risk factors.A major obstacle in disease prevention is the lack of appropriate efficacious vaccine(s) due to continuous changes in the encoding capacity of the viral genome, exuberant responsiveness of the host immune system and lack of effective antiviral drugs. Current management of these severe respiratory viral infections is limited to supportive clinical care. The primary cause of morbidity and mortality is respiratory failure, partially due to endothelial pulmonary complications, including edema. The latter is induced by the loss of alveolar epithelium integrity and by pathological changes in the endothelial vascular network that regulates blood flow, blood fluidity, exchange of fluids, electrolytes, various macromolecules and responses to signals triggered by oxygenation, and controls trafficking of leukocyte immune cells. This overview outlines the latest understanding of the implications of pulmonary vascular endothelium involvement in respiratory distress syndrome secondary to viral infections. In addition, the roles of infection-induced cytokines, growth factors, and epigenetic reprogramming in endothelial permeability, as well as emerging treatment options to decrease disease burden, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3067
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Endothelial cells
  • Gene expression
  • Influenza H1N1
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • SARS-Cov-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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