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J Immunol. 2005 Feb 1;174(3):1259-68.

Synthetic TLR agonists reveal functional differences between human TLR7 and TLR8.

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3M Pharmaceuticals, St. Paul, MN 55144, USA.


Although TLR7 and TLR8 are phylogenetically and structurally related, their relative functions are largely unknown. The role of TLR7 has been established using TLR7-deficient mice and small molecule TLR7 agonists. The absence of TLR8-selective agonists has hampered our understanding of the role of TLR8. In this study TLR agonists selective for TLR7 or TLR8 were used to determine the repertoire of human innate immune cells that are activated through these TLRs. We found that TLR7 agonists directly activated purified plasmacytoid dendritic cells and, to a lesser extent, monocytes. Conversely, TLR8 agonists directly activated purified myeloid dendritic cells, monocytes, and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (GM-CSF/IL-4/TGF-beta). Accordingly, TLR7-selective agonists were more effective than TLR8-selective agonists at inducing IFN-alpha- and IFN-regulated chemokines such as IFN-inducible protein and IFN-inducible T cell alpha chemoattractant from human PBMC. In contrast, TLR8 agonists were more effective than TLR7 agonists at inducing proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, such as TNF-alpha, IL-12, and MIP-1alpha. Thus, this study demonstrated that TLR7 and TLR8 agonists differ in their target cell selectivity and cytokine induction profile.

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