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J Infect Dis. 2001 Jun 1;183(11):1617-24. Epub 2001 Apr 23.

In vivo expression of proinflammatory mediators in the adult heart after endotoxin administration: the role of toll-like receptor-4.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiology Section, Winters Center for Heart Failure Research, and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta, and nitric oxide (NO) may play a role in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced cardiac depression. Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) mediates the cytokine response to LPS in immune cells. TLR-4 also is expressed in human and murine myocardial tissue. Therefore, the hypothesis that LPS induces proinflammatory cytokines in the heart via TLR-4 was tested. C3H/HeJ (TLR-4 deficient) and C3HeB/FeJ mice were studied. LPS induced a robust increase in myocardial TNF-alpha and IL-1beta mRNA in C3HeB/FeJ mice. The response in C3H/HeJ mice was blunted and delayed. Myocardial TNF-alpha and IL-1beta protein levels were higher in C3HeB/FeJ mice, as were inducible NO synthase protein and NO production. Activation of myocardial NF-kappaB was observed within 30 min in C3HeB/FeJ mice but not in C3H/HeJ mice. These findings suggest that myocardial TLR-4 is involved in signaling cytokine production within the heart during endotoxic shock.

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