Role of toll-like receptors and their downstream molecules in the development of nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease

Gastroenterol Res Pract. 2010;2010:362847. doi: 10.1155/2010/362847. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


Activation of innate immunity is associated with the development of liver disease, including non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In the innate immune system, Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are sensors that recognize bacterial and viral components such as lipopolysaccharide, bacterial DNA, and peptidoglycan. Recent data have demonstrated that the liver is exposed to a high load of TLR ligands due to bacterial overgrowth and increased intestinal permeability in NAFLD. Upon stimulation by these TLR ligands, hepatic immune cells produce various mediators that are involved in host defense. On the other hand, these mediators alter lipid metabolism, insulin signaling, and cell survival. Indeed, some TLR-deficient mice demonstrate lesser degrees of NAFLD even though TLR ligands are increased. This paper will highlight the recent progress on the study of TLR signaling and their downstream molecules in the development of NAFLD.