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J Reprod Immunol. 2009 Jun;80(1-2):33-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jri.2008.12.004. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

Functional expression of pattern recognition receptors in tissues of the human female reproductive tract.

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Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


The human female reproductive tract (FRT) must balance the requirements of procreation with the demands of protection from pathogen invasion. We hypothesize that the FRT expresses functional pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), including Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD) proteins that may mediate these tasks. Expression of PRRs was evaluated in FRT tissues by RT-PCR. PRR function within FRT tissue cells was determined by CXCL8 (IL-8) production in response to treatment with PRR agonists. We now report that TLRs7-9 are expressed in Fallopian tube, uterine endometrium, cervix and ectocervix, while TLR10 expression is restricted to Fallopian tube. NOD1 and NOD2 and the signal transducer RICK were detected in all FRT tissues. Stimulation of FRT tissue cells with PRR ligands resulted in secretion of CXCL8. Results of these studies indicate that PRRs are functionally expressed in FRT tissues, and suggest that these receptors mediate microbial recognition and immune defense in the reproductive tract.

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