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Pathol Oncol Res. 2011 Sep;17(3):677-83. doi: 10.1007/s12253-011-9368-9. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

Increased expression of toll-like receptors (TLR) 2, 4 and 5 in gastric dysplasia.

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Department of Physiology, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.


TLRs are important innate immunity receptors. Even though TLR2, 4 and 5 appear to be important for Helicobacter pylori (HP) recognition, their role in the evolution of gastritis to more advanced lesions is still unknown. To compare the expression of TLR2, 4 and 5 in normal gastric mucosa, HP+ gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia and adenocarcinoma. Immunohistochemistry for TLR2, 4 and 5 was performed with anti-TLR2-TLR4-TLR5 antibodies in 117 histological samples of normal gastric mucosa (n = 22), HP+ gastritis (n = 20), intestinal metaplasia (n = 33), dysplasia (mucosectomy specimens, n = 20) and intestinal type adenocarcinoma (surgery specimens,n = 22); quantification of expression was performed independently by two pathologists taking into account the percentage of positive epithelial cells and the degree of expression (zero to three score). A statistically significant trend for progressive increase of TLRs expression from normal mucosa to gastric dysplasia was found (mean expression: normal mucosa 0.1; gastritis 1.0; metaplasia 2.2; dysplasia 2.8, p < 0.01). All dysplasia samples presented more than 90% positive epithelial cells with strong expression (2.8;95%CI2.7-3). There was less TLRs expression in carcinomas (TLR2:1.0; TLR4:2.0 and TLR5:1.2, p < 0.05) when compared with dysplasia, with TLR4 being more expressed than TLR2 and 5 in these lesions (p = 0.03). A score of all markers' expression of eight leads to a low (4%) false positive rate in patients with precancerous conditions. Progression of gastric lesions associated with gastric carcinogenesis is associated with increased TLRs expression. Gastric dysplasia presents a high level of TLRs expression, suggesting that these receptors may play a role in adenocarcinoma development.

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