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Circulation. 2004 Feb 17;109(6):784-9.

Reduced myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in toll-like receptor 4-deficient mice.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass 02115, USA.



Myocardial ischemia and reperfusion-induced tissue injury involve a robust inflammatory response, but the proximal events in reperfusion injury remain incompletely defined. Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a proximal signaling receptor in innate immune responses to lipopolysaccharide of Gram-negative pathogens. TLR4 is also expressed in the heart and vasculature, but a role for TLR4 in the myocardial response to injury separate from microbial pathogens has not been examined. This study assessed the role of TLR4 in myocardial infarction and inflammation in a murine model of ischemia-reperfusion injury.


Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (MIR) was performed on 2 strains of TLR4-deficient mice (C57/BL10 ScCr and C3H/HeJ) and controls (C57/BL10 ScSn and C3H/OuJ). Mice were subjected to 1 hour of coronary ligation, followed by 24 hours of reperfusion. TLR4-deficient mice sustained significantly smaller infarctions compared with control mice given similar areas at risk. Fewer neutrophils infiltrated the myocardium of TLR4-deficient Cr mice after MIR, indicated by less myeloperoxidase activity and fewer CD45/GR1-positive cells. The myocardium of TLR4-deficient Cr mice contained fewer lipid peroxides and less complement deposition compared with control mice after MIR. Serum levels of interleukin-12, interferon-gamma, and endotoxin were not increased after ischemia-reperfusion. Neutrophil trafficking in the peritoneum was similar in all strains after injection of thioglycollate.


TLR4-deficient mice sustain smaller infarctions and exhibit less inflammation after myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. The data suggest that in addition to its role in innate immune responses, TLR4 serves a proinflammatory role in murine myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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