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Clin Exp Immunol. 2013 Sep;173(3):512-22. doi: 10.1111/cei.12138.

Disordered Toll-like receptor 2 responses in the pathogenesis of pulmonary sarcoidosis.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106-4941, USA.


In this study, we hypothesized that the granulomatous disorder sarcoidosis is not caused by a single pathogen, but rather results from abnormal responses of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) to conserved bacterial elements. Unsorted bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) cells from patients with suspected pulmonary sarcoidosis and healthy non-smoking control subjects were stimulated with representative ligands of TLR-2 (in both TLR-2/1 and TLR-2/6 heterodimers) and TLR-4. Responses were determined by assessing resulting production of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α and interleukin (IL)-6. BAL cells from patients in whom sarcoidosis was confirmed displayed increased cytokine responses to the TLR-2/1 ligand 19-kDa lipoprotein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (LpqH) and decreased responses to the TLR-2/6 agonist fibroblast stimulating ligand-1 (FSL)-1. Subsequently, we evaluated the impact of TLR-2 gene deletion in a recently described murine model of T helper type 1 (Th1)-associated lung disease induced by heat-killed Propionibacterium acnes. As quantified by blinded scoring of lung pathology, P. acnes-induced granulomatous pulmonary inflammation was markedly attenuated in TLR-2(-/-) mice compared to wild-type C57BL/6 animals. The findings support a potential role for disordered TLR-2 responses in the pathogenesis of pulmonary sarcoidosis.

Published 2013. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.


Toll-like receptors; bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL); sarcoidosis

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