Toll-like receptors at the ocular surface

Ocul Surf. 2008 Jul;6(3):108-16. doi: 10.1016/s1542-0124(12)70279-3.


The Toll-like receptor (TLR) family of pathogen recognition molecules has an important role in recognizing microbial pathogens and microbial breakdown products. Activation of TLRs in the corneal epithelium induces CXC chemokine production and recruitment of neutrophils to the corneal stroma. Although essential for pathogen killing, neutrophils can cause extensive tissue damage, leading to visual impairment and blindness. In this review, we examine the role of TLRs in microbial keratitis and in noninfectious corneal inflammation, most commonly associated with contact lens wear. we present recent findings on TLR signaling pathways in the cornea, including MyD88- and TRIF-dependent responses and discuss the role of resident macrophages and dendritic cells. Finally, we examine the potential for targeting the TLR pathway as a potential therapeutic intervention for microbial keratitis and contact lens-associated corneal inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology
  • Animals
  • Contact Lenses / adverse effects
  • Dendritic Cells / physiology
  • Epithelium, Corneal / metabolism*
  • Epithelium, Corneal / physiopathology
  • Eye Infections / microbiology
  • Eye Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Keratitis / etiology
  • Keratitis / microbiology
  • Keratitis / physiopathology*
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88 / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism
  • Toll-Like Receptors / physiology*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
  • Toll-Like Receptors