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J Autoimmun. 2007 Dec;29(4):310-8. Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Toll like receptors and autoimmunity: a critical appraisal.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy, University of Crete, Medical School, Voutes 71500, Heraklion, Greece.


There is a constant interplay between the innate and adaptive immune systems, which leads to a protective immune response against pathogens and contributes effectively to self-non-self discrimination. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key components of the innate immune system, which activate multiple inflammatory pathways and coordinate systemic defense against pathogens. In addition to recognizing unique molecular patterns associated with different classes of pathogens, TLRs may also recognize a number of self proteins and endogenous nucleic acids. Data originating predominantly from animal models of autoimmune disease and circumstantial data from human patients suggest that inappropriate activation of TLR pathways by endogenous or exogenous ligands may lead to the initiation and/or perpetuation of autoimmune responses and tissue injury.

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