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Pharm Res. 2008 Aug;25(8):1751-61. doi: 10.1007/s11095-008-9571-x. Epub 2008 May 21.

Discovery and development of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) antagonists: a new paradigm for treating sepsis and other diseases.

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Division of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Sepsis remains the most common cause of death in intensive care units in the USA, with a current estimate of at least 750,000 cases per year, and 215,000 deaths annually. Despite extensive research still we do not quite understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that are involved in triggering and propagation of septic injury. Endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide from Gram-negative bacteria, or LPS) has been implicated as a major cause of this syndrome. Inflammatory shock as a consequence of LPS release remains a serious clinical concern. In humans, inflammatory responses to LPS result in the release of cytokines and other cell mediators from monocytes and macrophages, which can cause fever, shock, organ failure and death. A number of different approaches have been investigated to try to treat and/or prevent the septic shock associated with infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria, including blockage of one or more of the cytokines induced by LPS. Recently several novel amphipathic compounds have been developed as direct LPS antagonists at the LPS receptor, TLR4. This review article will outline the current knowledge on the TLR4-LPS synthesis and discuss the signaling, in vitro pre-clinical and in vivo clinical evaluation of TLR4 antagonists and their potential use in sepsis and a variety of diseases such as atherosclerosis as well as hepatic and renal malfunction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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