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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 17;106(7):2348-52. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0808146106. Epub 2009 Jan 30.

Protection from lethal gram-negative bacterial sepsis by targeting Toll-like receptor 4.

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Infectious Diseases Service, Department of Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), the signal-transducing molecule of the LPS receptor complex, plays a fundamental role in the sensing of LPS from gram-negative bacteria. Activation of TLR4 signaling pathways by LPS is a critical upstream event in the pathogenesis of gram-negative sepsis, making TLR4 an attractive target for novel antisepsis therapy. To validate the concept of TLR4-targeted treatment strategies in gram-negative sepsis, we first showed that TLR4(-/-) and myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88)(-/-) mice were fully resistant to Escherichia coli-induced septic shock, whereas TLR2(-/-) and wild-type mice rapidly died of fulminant sepsis. Neutralizing anti-TLR4 antibodies were then generated using a soluble chimeric fusion protein composed of the N-terminal domain of mouse TLR4 (amino acids 1-334) and the Fc portion of human IgG1. Anti-TLR4 antibodies inhibited intracellular signaling, markedly reduced cytokine production, and protected mice from lethal endotoxic shock and E. coli sepsis when administered in a prophylactic and therapeutic manner up to 13 h after the onset of bacterial sepsis. These experimental data provide strong support for the concept of TLR4-targeted therapy for gram-negative sepsis.

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