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Mucosal Immunol. 2008 Nov;1 Suppl 1:S62-6. doi: 10.1038/mi.2008.47.

Barrier-protective function of intestinal epithelial Toll-like receptor 2.

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Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital of Essen and Medical School, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany.


The intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) barrier plays an important role in maintaining mucosal immune homeostasis. Dysregulated IEC barrier function appears to trigger and perpetuate inflammation in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Novel risk variants in the Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) gene have previously been associated with a more severe disease phenotype in a subgroup of IBD patients. Recent studies have provided important insights of the commensal and host defense mechanisms to maintain functional barrier integrity of the intestinal epithelium through TLR2. Deficient TLR2 signaling may imbalance commensal-dependent intestinal epithelial barrier defense, facilitating mucosal injury and leading to increased susceptibility of colitis. Treatment with a synthetic TLR2 ligand significantly suppresses mucosal inflammation by efficiently protecting tight junction-associated integrity of the intestinal epithelium in vivo. These beneficial effects may be supplemented by TLR2-induced anti-inflammatory immune responses (such as interleukin-10 production) in lamina propria mononuclear cells. Thus, cell-specific TLR2 targeting may offer a novel therapeutic approach to human IBD therapy by protecting IEC barrier function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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