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Am J Reprod Immunol. 2012 Sep;68(3):233-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0897.2012.01164.x. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Lipopolysaccharide appears to activate human endometrial endothelial cells through TLR-4-dependent and TLR-4-independent mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.



Uterine innate immunity remains poorly characterized, and while endometrial endothelial cells are known to express Toll-like receptors (TLRs), little is known about their function in these cells. The present study evaluated the effect of Gram-negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on human endometrial endothelial cell (HEECs) cytokine secretion and tissue factor expression, and the role of TLR-4 in these responses.


Human endometrial endothelial cells were treated with or without LPS ± LPS-RS, a TLR-4 antagonist, via the binding of MD-2. After 24 hr, cell-free supernatants were evaluated for cytokines by multiplex analysis and cell lysates were analyzed for tissue factor expression by Western blot.


Treatment of HEECs with LPS significantly upregulated the secretion of IL-6, IL-8, and G-CSF, and this was prevented by LPS-RS. LPS also induced tissue factor expression by the HEECs; however, this was unaffected by LPS-RS.


These findings suggest that TLR-4 is functional in HEECs and its activation by bacterial LPS induces a specific cytokine/chemokine response. However, bacterial LPS also induced tissue factor expression in what seemed to be a TLR-4-independent fashion, suggesting that this bacterial component can act on the HEECs through TLR-4-dependent and TLR-4-independent pathways. These findings indicate that endometrial endothelial cells may play an active role in uterine innate immunity.

© 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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