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Immunology. 2009 Jan;126(1):132-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2008.02886.x. Epub 2008 Jun 19.

TLR2/6 stimulation of the rat lung: effects on lymphocyte subsets, natural killer cells and dendritic cells in different parts of the air-conducting compartments and at different ages.

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Institute of Functional and Applied Anatomy, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany.


The composition of lymphocyte subsets in the lung has been found to be compartment-specific. To characterize the effect of age, weanling, young adult and adult rats were studied in control conditions and after a single intratracheal dose of the Toll-like receptor 2/6 (TLR2/6) agonist macrophage activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP-2). In all age groups, T, B and natural killer (NK) cells increased dramatically in the epithelium and lamina propria of the bronchi. Male adult rats were found to have responded to MALP-2 to a much greater extent than females when lymphocyte subsets were counted in the epithelium and the lamina propria. In a second series of experiments the time kinetics of regulatory T-cell (Treg) subsets and dendritic cells (DCs) in the lung was studied after local stimulation with MALP-2. Different time-dependent patterns were found in the Treg subsets CD4(+) CD25(+), CD4(+) CD25(+) neuropilin 1(+) and CD4(+) CD25(+) Foxp3(+) cells. Neutrophils and DCs also showed different patterns. Thus, the local application of a TLR agonist increased the number of lymphocyte subsets in a compartment-specific pattern. However, data should not be generalized or extrapolated from one age group, sex or lymphocyte subpopulation to another.

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