Triggering of TLR3 by polyI:C in human corneal epithelial cells to induce inflammatory cytokines

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 May 27;331(1):285-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.02.196.


Epithelial cells of the ocular surface are key in the first-line defense as a part of the mucosal immune system against pathogens. We investigated whether polyI:C induces the production by human corneal epithelial cells (HCEC) of pro-inflammatory cytokines and IFN-beta, and whether Toll-like receptor (TLR)-3 expression is amplified by polyI:C. TLR3 was expressed on the surface of HCEC. Stimulation with polyI:C elicited the elevated production and mRNA expression of IL-6 and IL-8 in HCEC. While polyI:C induced IFN-beta, far stronger than human fibroblasts, and TLR3 gene expression in HCEC, LPS stimulation did not. Similarly, polyI:C, but not LPS, induced the gene expression of IkappaBalpha and MAIL, members of the IkappaB family, in HCEC. The innate immune response of HCEC is distinct from that of immune-competent cells, and we suggest that this is indicative of the symbiotic relationship between corneal epithelium and microbes inhabiting the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / cytology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / immunology*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Interferon-beta / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Poly I-C / pharmacology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3
  • Toll-Like Receptors


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cytokines
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • NFKBIA protein, human
  • NFKBIZ protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • TLR3 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 3
  • Toll-Like Receptors
  • NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha
  • Interferon-beta
  • Poly I-C