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J Immunol. 2001 Aug 15;167(4):2250-6.

Protective roles of mast cells against enterobacterial infection are mediated by Toll-like receptor 4.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are mammalian homologues of the Drosophila Toll receptors and are thought to have roles in innate recognition of bacteria. We demonstrated that TLR 2, 4, 6, and 8 but not TLR5 were expressed on mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). Using BMMCs from the genetically TLR4-mutated strain C3H/HeJ, we demonstrated that functional TLR4 was required for a full responsiveness of BMMCs to produce inflammatory cytokines (IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-13) by LPS stimulation. TLR4-mediated stimulation of mast cells by LPS was followed by activation of NF-kappaB but not by stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase signaling. In addition, in the cecal ligation and puncture-induced acute septic peritonitis model, we demonstrated that genetically mast cell-deficient W/W(v) mice that were reconstituted with TLR4-mutated BMMCs had significantly higher mortality than W/W(v) mice reconstituted with TLR4-intact BMMCs. Higher mortality of TLR4-mutated BMMC-reconstituted W/W(v) mice was well correlated with defective neutrophil recruitment and production of proinflammatory cytokines in the peritoneal cavity. Taken together, these observations provide definitive evidence that mast cells play important roles in exerting the innate immunity by releasing inflammatory cytokines and recruitment of neutrophils after recognition of enterobacteria through TLR4 on mast cells.

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