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J Endotoxin Res. 2001;7(5):365-73.

The hepatocyte as a microbial product-responsive cell.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Much research has focused on the responses to microbial products of immune cells such as monocytes, macrophages, and neutrophils. Although the liver is a primary response organ in various infections, relatively little is known about the antimicrobial responses of its major cell type, the hepatocyte. It is now known that the recognition of bacteria occurs via cell-surface proteins that are members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family. In addition, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is bound by circulating LPS-binding protein (LBP) and presented to cell-surface CD14, which in turn interacts with TLR and transduces an intracellular signal. We investigated the CD14 and TLR2 responses of whole liver and isolated hepatocytes, and demonstrated that these cells can be induced to express the molecules necessary for responses to both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Our findings may have clinical implications for pathological states such as sepsis.

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