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Lab Invest. 2006 Jan;86(1):9-22.

Lipopolysaccharide signaling in endothelial cells.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, British Columbia Cancer Agency, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Sepsis is the systemic immune response to severe bacterial infection. The innate immune recognition of bacterial and viral products is mediated by a family of transmembrane receptors known as Toll-like receptors (TLRs). In endothelial cells, exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a major cell wall constituent of Gram-negative bacteria, results in endothelial activation through a receptor complex consisting of TLR4, CD14 and MD2. Recruitment of the adaptor protein myeloid differentiation factor (MyD88) initiates an MyD88-dependent pathway that culminates in the early activation of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) and the mitogen-activated protein kinases. In parallel, a MyD88-independent pathway results in a late-phase activation of NF-kappaB. The outcome is the production of various proinflammatory mediators and ultimately cellular injury, leading to the various vascular sequelae of sepsis. This review will focus on the signaling pathways initiated by LPS binding to the TLR4 receptor in endothelial cells and the coordinated regulation of this pathway.

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