Roles of Toll-Like Receptors in Atherosclerosis

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Roles of Toll-Like Receptors in Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is driven by inflammation with an involvement of innate and adaptive immune responses. Toll-like receptors, the well-defined pattern recognition receptors of the immune system, play a central role in macrophage activation. Toll-like receptors recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns expressed by a wide range of infectious agents and provide a strong link between local innate and adaptive immunity. Activation of these receptors triggers an intracellular signaling cascade mediated through myeloid differentiation factor 88 or toll/interleukin-1 receptor-domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-β, leading to the secretion of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Toll-like receptors engagement with their ligands induces leukocyte recruitment and enhances matrix metalloproteinase expression within atherosclerotic lesions. Recently certain Toll-like receptors have shown a protective role in atherosclerosis. TLRs, therefore, represent an important link between inflammation and atheroma, making them attractive targets for the treatment of atherosclerosis.

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