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Clin Sci (Lond). 2012 Mar;122(5):203-14. doi: 10.1042/CS20110357.

Toll-like receptors and diabetes: a therapeutic perspective.

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Department of Dermatology, University of California Davis, Sacramento, CA 95816, USA.


Diabetes is a mutifactorial metabolic disorder that leads to a number of complications. Diabetes is estimated to affect 36 million people in the U.S.A., and the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes is at 9.3% and continues to rise. Evidence from experimental animal models as well as humans has indicated that systemic inflammation plays a role in the pathophysiological processes of diabetes and is facilitated by innate immune responses. TLRs (Toll-like receptors) are key innate immune receptors that recognize conserved PAMPs (pathogen-associated molecular patterns), induce inflammatory responses essential for host defences and initiate an adaptive immune response. Although TLR expression is increased in a plethora of inflammatory disorders, the effects of metabolic aberrations on TLRs and their role in diabetes and its complications is still emerging. In the present paper, we provide a systematic review on how TLRs play a detrimental role in the pathogenic processes [increased blood sugar, NEFAs (non-esterified 'free' fatty acids), cytokines and ROS (reactive oxygen species)] that manifest diabetes. Furthermore, we will highlight some of the therapeutic strategies targeted at decreasing TLRs to abrogate inflammation in diabetes that may eventually result in decreased complications.

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