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J Orthop Res. 2011 Feb;29(2):211-7. doi: 10.1002/jor.21199. Epub 2010 Aug 30.

Titanium particles activate toll-like receptor 4 independently of lipid rafts in RAW264.7 murine macrophages.

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Department of Orthopaedics, Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-5000, USA.


Adherent pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) act through toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 to increase the biological activity of orthopedic wear particles in cell culture and animal models of implant loosening. This study tested whether this is dependent on TLR association with lipid rafts as reported for the response to soluble TLR ligands. For this purpose, RAW264.7 murine macrophages were activated by exposure to titanium particles with adherent PAMPs, soluble lipopolysaccharide (LPS), soluble lipotecichoic acid (LTA), or heat-killed bacteria that had been extensively washed to remove soluble PAMPs. Lipid rafts were isolated by two independent methods and the location of TLR4 and TLR2 was analyzed by Western blotting. The cognate TLRs associated with lipid rafts when the macrophages were activated with soluble LPS and LTA but not after stimulation with either titanium particles with adherent PAMPs or heat-killed bacteria. The lipid raft disruptor, methyl-β-cyclodextrin, dose-dependently inhibited TNF-α release in response to LPS but had no affect on TNF-α release in response to titanium particles with adherent PAMPs. We conclude, therefore, that titanium particles with adherent PAMPs and heat-killed bacteria activate TLR2 and TLR4 in macrophages without inducing either TLR to associate with lipid rafts. These results have important implications for the mechanisms of orthopedic implant loosening as well the mechanisms for TLR activation in other inflammatory situations.

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