The significance of toll-like receptors in human diseases

M T Montero Vega, A de Andrés Martín
Allergologia et Immunopathologia 2009, 37 (5): 252-63
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of transmembrane receptors that have been preserved throughout evolution and which selectively recognize a broad spectrum of microbial components and endogenous molecules released by injured tissue. Identification of these ligands by TLRs triggers signalling pathways which lead to the expression of numerous genes involved in a defensive response. In mammals, the products of these genes initiate inflammation, coordinate the effector functions of innate immunity, instruct and modulate adaptive immunity and initiate tissue repair and regeneration. Different mutations and experimental models which alter TLR function have revealed the significance of these receptors in susceptibility to infection and their involvement in the pathogenesis of a large number of non-infective inflammatory disorders such as cancer, allergy, autoimmunity, inflammatory bowel disease, or atherosclerosis. TLRs are currently viewed as important targets for the development of new vaccines and innovative therapies to prevent and treat human diseases.

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