Toll-like receptor signaling in neural plasticity and disease

Trends Neurosci. 2011 May;34(5):269-81. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Mar 16.


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of innate immune system receptors that respond to pathogen-derived and tissue damage-related ligands. TLR signaling in immune cells, glia and neurons can play roles in the pathogenesis of stroke, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Recent findings suggest that TLR signaling also influences multiple dynamic processes in the developing and adult central nervous system including neurogenesis, axonal growth and structural plasticity. In addition, TLRs are implicated in the regulation of behaviors including learning, memory and anxiety. This review describes recently discovered and unexpected roles for TLRs in neuroplasticity, and the implications of these findings for future basic and translational research studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*


  • Toll-Like Receptors