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J Cell Mol Med. 2010 Jun;14(6B):1419-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2009.00899.x. Epub 2009 Sep 14.

Resistin competes with lipopolysaccharide for binding to toll-like receptor 4.

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Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of cellular structures activated by recognition of pathogen associated molecular sequences. The activation of TLRs triggers a variety of intracellular mechanisms aiming to protect the host from the invading microorganisms. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the main ligand for TLR4. Here we show that resistin, a cystein-rich protein believed to regulate carbohydrate metabolism, competes with LPS for binding to TLR4. Binding of recombinant resistin to human myeloid and epithelial cells was assessed by flow cytometry and its co-precipitation with TLR4 was demonstrated. Antibodies against TLR4 abolished resistin binding to human leucocytes and cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in response to resistin stimulation. In contrast, isotype-matched murine IgG or TLR2 antibodies were unable to prevent binding of resistin to the cells. Similarly, TLR4-dependent pattern of resistin binding was observed in epithelial cell line HEK293 (human epithelial kidney cell), where TLR4 transfected, but not myeloid differentiation factor 2/CD14-transfected, TLR2 transfected or HEKnull cells, responded functionally to resistin stimulation. Intracellular signalling of resistin was assessed using inhibitors of transcription factors mitogen activated protein kinases, nuclear factor-kappaB, phosphoinositide 3-kinase and siRNA targeting TLR4 and human myeloid differentiation factor 88. Results demonstrate that TLR4 serves as a receptor for the pro-inflammatory effects of resistin in human cells. This may partly explain the multifunctional role of resistin in chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis and insulin resistance.

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