Toll-like receptors and immune response in allergic disease

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2004 Apr;26(2):115-25. doi: 10.1007/s12016-004-0006-0.


Allergic reactions are dominated by the preferential development of specific Th2 responses against innocuous antigens in atopic individuals. This can reflect alterations in innate immune mechanisms. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have evolved as key molecules in innate and adaptive immunity. Their activation by structurally distinct exogenous or endogenous ligands present at the cell microenvironment plays a critical role in antimicrobial defense. The global view is that TLR activation induces antigen-presenting cells to produce cytokines that favor Th1-type immune responses, suggesting that it might prevent the development of deleterious Th2 responses in allergy. On the basis of epidemiological studies and recent data, it has been established that TLRs play a role in the development of Th2 responses. However, more information is needed to fully understand the mechanism of TLR involvement and the implication of immune cells that express TLRs in the Th1/Th2 cytokine profiles. Several TLRs, such as TLR9, TLR7, and TLR8, can be considered as good target candidates. Some TLR ligands, such as CpG DNA, are effective adjuvants, strong inducers of both IL-5 and eosinophilia downregulation. They are also potential links to allergen epitopes that could provide new allergen-specific immunotherapy regimens for the treatment of allergic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Hypersensitivity / therapy
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / therapeutic use
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / therapeutic use
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • Toll-Like Receptor 8
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TLR7 protein, human
  • TLR8 protein, human
  • TLR9 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 7
  • Toll-Like Receptor 8
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Toll-Like Receptors