Background: The molecular mechanisms of pathogen recognition that initiate infective pyelonephritis are poorly understood. Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) mutant mice infected with uropathogenic Escherichia coli lack renal CXCL2 mRNA expression, subsequent neutrophil recruitment, and renal abscess formation.
Methods: We used a bone marrow transplant approach in order to investigate the contribution of TLR4 in intrinsic renal cells or bone-marrow-derived immune cells to neutrophil recruitment during infective pyelonephritis.
Results: Both chimera either expressing mutant tlr4 in intrinsic renal cells and wild-type tlr4 in bone marrow-derived cells or vice versa showed an impaired response to uropathogenic E. coli infection in terms of leukocyturia and renal abscess formation when compared to tlr4 wild-type mice with congenic bone marrow transplants.
Conclusion: These data suggest that TLR4 is required on both intrinsic renal cells (e.g., tubular epithelial cells) and bone marrow-derived immune cells for the control of ascending uropathogenic E. coli infection by initiating chemokine-driven renal neutrophil recruitment.