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Eur J Immunol. 2004 Apr;34(4):1146-53.

The role of Toll-like receptor 4 versus interleukin-12 in immunity to respiratory syncytial virus.

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Children's Hospital, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.


Toll-like receptors (TLR) and IL-12 represent key elements of innate immunity. Using C57BL/10 ScCr mice it was shown that TLR4 is important for control of infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Since these mice have an additional defect in the IL-12R, we reinvestigated immunity to RSV in several C57BL/10 and BALB/c mouse strains lacking a functional TLR4, a functional IL-12-IL-12R interaction or both. In the absence of a functional IL-12 axis, early virus control was impaired in C57BL/10 mice, but not in BALB/c mice. By contrast, TLR4 had no impact on RSV elimination. Pulmonary NK cell recruitment was impaired in IL-12 deficient BALB/c mice and NK cytotoxicity was reduced in IL-12/IL-12R-deficient mice of both genetic backgrounds. Absence of TLR4 had no impact on NK cell recruitment or NK activity nor on recruitment of other pulmonary inflammatory cells. Activation of RSV-specific T cell immunity, including T cell mediated immunopathology, was normal in all mutant strains. These findings clearly argue against a significant role for TLR4 and define a limited role for IL-12 in primary murine RSV infection.

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