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J Autoimmun. 2005 Aug;25(1):85-91.

Hepatic expression of toll-like receptor 4 in primary biliary cirrhosis.

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  • 1Clinical Research Center, National Hospital Organization (NHO) Nagasaki Medical Center, Nagasaki, Japan.


Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a receptor for bacterial lipopolysaccharide, which is suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of disease of hepatobiliary tracts. To explore a possible role for this receptor in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), we investigated the expression of TLR4 in liver tissues from PBC patients. We studied liver biopsy sections from 62 PBC patients and 41 patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Expression of TLR4 in paraffin-embedded sections was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The bile duct epithelial cells (BECs) of PBC liver tissues markedly expressed TLR4, whereas BECs of CHC liver tissues barely expressed TLR4. The TLR4 expression was also observed in periportal hepatocytes of PBC liver tissues and its expression was extended to interlobular hepatocytes in advanced stage PBC. Although periportal hepatocytes of CHC liver tissues expressed TLR4, its expression levels were not correlated with the fibrosis stage. Our data demonstrated that TLR4 was expressed in BECs and periportal hepatocytes in PBC livers, suggesting the possible involvement of bacterial pathogens and TLR4 in the inflammatory processes of PBC.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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