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J Immunol. 2008 Jun 1;180(11):7604-12.

Analysis of the neuroinflammatory response to TLR7 stimulation in the brain: comparison of multiple TLR7 and/or TLR8 agonists.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA.


Activation of astrocytes and microglia and the production of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines are often associated with virus infection in the CNS as well as a number of neurological diseases of unknown etiology. These inflammatory responses may be initiated by recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) that stimulate TLRs. TLR7 and TLR8 were identified as eliciting antiviral effects when stimulated by viral ssRNA. In the present study, we examined the potential of TLR7 and/or TLR8 agonists to induce glial activation and neuroinflammation in the CNS by intracerebroventricular inoculation of TLR7 and/or TLR8 agonists in newborn mice. The TLR7 agonist imiquimod induced astrocyte activation and up-regulation of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, including IFN-beta, TNF, CCL2, and CXCL10. However, these responses were only of short duration when compared with responses induced by the TLR4 agonist LPS. Interestingly, some of the TLR7 and/or TLR8 agonists differed in their ability to activate glial cells as evidenced by their ability to induce cytokine and chemokine expression both in vivo and in vitro. Thus, TLR7 stimulation can induce neuroinflammatory responses in the brain, but individual TLR7 agonists may differ in their ability to stimulate cells of the CNS.

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