Big endothelin-1 and interleukin-6 modulation in human microvascular endothelial cells after human herpesvirus 8 infection

Livianna Speciale, Renato Biffi, Roberta Mancuso, Elisa Borghi, Romina Mazziotti, Pasquale Ferrante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Endothelin (ET)-1 is an angiogenic factor that, among others, is secreted by endothelial cells during development of several neoplasias. In particular, Kaposi sarcoma (KS) skin lesions show overexpression of the ET-1 system. Spindle cells, which characterize tumor lesions, are of endothelial origin and during disease are infected by human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8). The majority of these cells are latently infected, suggesting that latent genes are sufficient for maintenance of viral infection and development of KS. The establishment of a reliable infection system is required to better understand the role of viral and cellular angiogenic factors involved in KS progression. For this purpose, we used human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) to establish an ET-1-producing model of infection with HHV-8. Viral particles purified from BCBL-1 cells were used to infect HMEC-1 monolayer, and infection was assessed by polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and confocal microscopy. Mitochondrial activity and cell viability, measured at 24, 48, and 72 hours after infection by 3,(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assay, was reduced in HHV-8-infected cells compared with control. In contrast, 1 week after infection, HHV-8-positive cells showed higher mitochondrial functionality. Endothelin production was measured in culture media collected at 24, 48, and 72 hours after infection. The levels of endothelin precursor big endothelin-1 was increased 3 days after infection, although big ET-1 and ET-1 production did not differ significantly between infected and uninfected cells. These results indicate this model as a useful tool to further characterize the effects of HHV-8 in the early and late phases of infection, and to determine its ability to interfere with the endothelin system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1175
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Big ET-1
  • ET-1
  • HHV-8
  • IL-6
  • Kaposi sarcoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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