Uveitis involves acute, recurrent or chronic inflammation of the uvea, and occurs when the normal state of ocular immune privilege has broken down. Accumulating evidence implicates the role of microbial triggers in the development of various forms of immune-mediated uveitis in addition to its causative role in infectious uveitis. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are the most important pattern-recognition receptors of the innate immune system that recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns of microbes. Activation of TLRs by pathogen-associated molecular patterns leads to the induction of an inflammatory cascade and activation of both innate and adaptive arms of the immune response. TLRs have been implicated in the pathogenesis of various inflammatory diseases, including uveitis. This review provides an update on recent progress in TLR research and uveitis, specifically summarizing new evidence for the role of TLRs in anterior uveitis. There have been important observations from studies involving human ocular tissue, clinical uveitis and from experimental animal models of uveitis, such as endotoxin-induced uveitis. The 'Toll rush' has certainly gained momentum, and future advances in this field have the potential for selectively targeting the TLR pathway and ultimately translating into better therapies for patients with sight-threatening uveitis.
© 2012 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology © 2012 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.