TLR2 and TLR9 modulate enteric nervous system inflammatory responses to lipopolysaccharide



Abstract Background Accumulating evidence suggest that the enteric nervous system (ENS) plays important roles in gastrointestinal inflammatory responses, which could be in part mediated by Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation. The aim of this study was to characterise the expression and functionality of TLR2/4/9 in the ENS. Methods TLR2/4/9 expression was assessed in the plexuses of adult rats and embryonic ENS cultures by immunofluorescence and quantitative PCR. Following stimulation with TLR2/4/9 ligands or their combinations, activation of NF-kB, production of TNF-α, IL-6 and MCP-1 and chemoattraction of RAW264.7 macrophages were evaluated by means of Western blot, ELISA, immunofluorescence and migration assays in transwell inserts. Results TLR2/4/9 staining colocalised with enteric neuronal markers, whereas their presence in enteroglial processes was low to inexistent. Stimulation of ENS cultures with selective ligands induced NF-kB activation and release of cytokines and chemokines by neurons and resident immunocytes. TLR2 neutralisation before lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge reduced production of inflammatory mediators, whereas combination of TLR2/4 ligands promoted macrophage migration. Combined stimulation of cultures with LPS and the CpG oligonucleotide 1826 (TLR4/9 ligands) caused a synergic increase in chemoattraction and cytokine production. Conclusions Our results suggest that the ENS, and particularly enteric neurons, can integrate a variety of microbial signals and respond in a relatively selective fashion, depending on the particular TLRs stimulated. These findings additionally suggest that the ENS is capable of initiating a defensive response against pathogens and expanding inflammation.
Date made available18 Aug 2016

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