A significant up-regulation of Toll-like-receptor (TLR) mRNAs between 3 and 48 h reperfusion time after induction of transient focal cerebral ischemia for 1h was revealed by applying global gene expression profiling in postischemic mouse brains. Compared to TLR4 and TLR9, TLR2 proved to be the most significantly up-regulated TLR in the ipsilateral brain hemisphere. TLR2-protein was found to be expressed mainly in microglia in the postischemic brain tissue, but also in selected endothelial cells, neurons, and astrocytes. Additionally, TLR2-related genes with pro-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic capabilities were induced. Therefore we hypothesized that TLR2-signaling could exacerbate the primary brain damage after ischemia. Two days after induction of transient focal cerebral ischemia (1h), we found a significant decrease of the infarct volume in TLR2 deficient mice compared to wild type mice (75+/-5 vs. 42+/-7 mm(3)). We conclude that TLR2 up-regulation and TLR2-signaling are important events in focal cerebral ischemia and contribute to the deterioration of ischemic damage.