Differential responses of mast cell Toll-like receptors 2 and 4 in allergy and innate immunity

J Clin Invest. 2002 May;109(10):1351-9. doi: 10.1172/JCI14704.


Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 play important roles in the early innate immune response to microbial challenge. To clarify the functional roles of TLRs 2 and 4 in mast cells, we examined bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs) from TLR2 or TLR4 gene-targeted mice. Peptidoglycan (PGN) from Staphylococcus aureus stimulated mast cells in a TLR2-dependent manner to produce TNF-alpha, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-13, but not IL-1beta. In contrast, LPS from Escherichia coli stimulated mast cells in a TLR4-dependent manner to produce TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-13, but not IL-4 nor IL-5. Furthermore, TLR2- but not TLR4-dependent mast cell stimulation resulted in mast cell degranulation and Ca2+ mobilization. In a mast cell-dependent model of acute sepsis, TLR4 deficiency of BMMCs in mice resulted in significantly higher mortality because of defective neutrophil recruitment and production of proinflammatory cytokines in the peritoneal cavity. Intradermal injection of PGN led to increased vasodilatation and inflammation through TLR2-dependent activation of mast cells in the skin. Taken together, these results suggest that direct activation of mast cells via TLR2 or TLR4 by respective microligands contributes to innate and allergic immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Peptidoglycan / immunology
  • Peptidoglycan / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Peptidoglycan
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Toll-Like Receptors