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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 18;283(16):10550-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M708833200. Epub 2008 Feb 5.

Toll-like receptor 4 mediates induction of the Bcl10-NFkappaB-interleukin-8 inflammatory pathway by carrageenan in human intestinal epithelial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


The sulfated polysaccharide carrageenan (CGN) induces activation of NFkappaB and interleukin 8 (IL-8) in human colonic epithelial cells through a pathway of innate immunity mediated by Bcl10 (B-cell CLL/lymphoma 10). In this report, we identify Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), a member of the family of innate immune receptors, as the surface membrane receptor for CGN in human colonic epithelial cells. Experiments with fluorescence-tagged CGN demonstrated a marked reduction in binding of CGN to human intestinal epithelial cells and to RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages, following exposure to TLR4 blocking antibody (HTA-125). Binding of CGN to 10ScNCr/23 mouse macrophages, which are deficient in the genetic locus for TLR4, was absent. Additional experiments with TLR4 blocking antibody and TLR4 small interfering RNAs showed 80% reductions in CGN-induced increases in Bcl10 and IL-8. Transfection with dominant-negative MyD88 plasmid demonstrated MyD88 dependence of the CGN-TLR4-triggered increases in Bcl10 and IL-8. Therefore, these results indicate that CGN-induced inflammation in human colonocytes proceeds through a pathway of innate immunity, perhaps related to the unusual alpha-1,3-galactosidic linkage characteristic of CGN, and suggest how dietary CGN intake may contribute to human intestinal inflammation. Because CGN is a commonly used food additive in the Western diet, clarification of its effects and mechanisms of action are vital to issues of food safety.

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