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Immunology. 2005 Apr;114(4):522-30.

Heat shock up-regulates expression of Toll-like receptor-2 and Toll-like receptor-4 in human monocytes via p38 kinase signal pathway.

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Institute of Immunology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China.


Heat stress can alert innate immunity by inducing stress proteins such as heat-shock proteins (HSPs). However, it remains unclear whether heat stress affects the activation of antigen-presenting cell (APC) in response to pathogen-associated molecule patterns (PAMPs) by directly regulating pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). As an important kind of PRRs, Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play critical roles in the activation of immune system. In this study, we demonstrated that heat shock up-regulated the expression of HSP70 as well as TLR2 and TLR4 in monocytes. The induction of TLRs was prior to that of HSP70, which suggesting the up-regulation of TLR2 and TLR4 might be independent of the induction of HSP70. Heat shock activated p38 kinase, extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB) signal pathways in monocytes. Pretreatment with specific inhibitor of p38 kinase, but not those of ERK and NF-kappaB, inhibited heat shock-induced up-regulation of TLR2 and TLR4. This indicates that p38 pathway takes part in heat shock-induced up-regulation of TLR2 and TLR4. Heat shock also increased lipoteichoic acid- or lipopolysaccharide-induced interleukin-6 production by monocytes. These results suggest that the p38 kinase-mediated up-regulation of TLR2 and TLR4 might be involved in the enhanced response to PAMP in human monocytes induced by heat shock.

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