Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and Nod-like receptors (NLRs) in inflammatory disorders

Masayuki Fukata, Arunan S. Vamadevan, Maria T. Abreu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and Nod-like receptors (NLRs) are two major forms of innate immune sensors, which provide immediate responses against pathogenic invasion or tissue injury. Activation of these sensors induces the recruitment of innate immune cells such as macrophages and neutrophils, initiates tissue repair processes, and results in adaptive immune activation. Abnormalities in any of these innate sensor-mediated processes may cause excessive inflammation due to either hyper responsive innate immune signaling or sustained compensatory adaptive immune activation. Recent gene association studies appear to reveal strong associations of NLR gene mutations and development of several idiopathic inflammatory disorders. In contrast, TLR polymorphisms are less often associated with inflammatory disorders. Nevertheless, TLRs are up-regulated in the affected tissue of most inflammatory disorders, suggesting TLR signaling is involved in the pathogenesis of chronic and/or idiopathic inflammatory disorders. NLR signaling results in the formation of a molecular scaffold complex (termed an inflammasome) and orchestrates with TLRs to induce IL-1β and IL-18, both of which are important mediators in the majority of inflammatory disorders. Therefore, understanding the roles of TLRs and NLRs in the pathogenesis of chronic and idiopathic inflammatory disorders may provide novel targets for the prevention and/or treatment of many common and uncommon diseases involving inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-253
Number of pages12
JournalSeminars in Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Inflammation
  • Nod-like receptor
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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