5 years ago

Toll-like Receptors in the Vascular System: Sensing the Dangers Within.

McCarthy CG, Webb RC, Goulopoulou S
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are components of the innate immune system that respond to exogenous infectious ligands (pathogen-associated molecular patterns, PAMPs) and endogenous molecules that are released during host tissue injury/death (damage-associated molecular patterns, DAMPs). Interaction of TLRs with their ligands leads to activation of downstream signaling pathways that induce an immune response by producing inflammatory cytokines, type I interferons (IFN), and other inflammatory mediators. TLR activation affects vascular function and remodeling, and these molecular events prime antigen-specific adaptive immune responses. Despite the presence of TLRs in vascular cells, the exact mechanisms whereby TLR signaling affects the function of vascular tissues are largely unknown. Cardiovascular diseases are considered chronic inflammatory conditions, and accumulating data show that TLRs and the innate immune system play a determinant role in the initiation and development of cardiovascular diseases. This evidence unfolds a possibility that targeting TLRs and the innate immune system may be a novel therapeutic goal for these conditions. TLR inhibitors and agonists are already in clinical trials for inflammatory conditions such as asthma, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, but their study in the context of cardiovascular diseases is in its infancy. In this article, we review the current knowledge of TLR signaling in the cardiovascular system with an emphasis on atherosclerosis, hypertension, and cerebrovascular injury. Furthermore, we address the therapeutic potential of TLR as pharmacological targets in cardiovascular disease and consider intriguing research questions for future study.

Publisher URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26721702

DOI: PubMed:26721702

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