Chronic injury often triggers maladaptive wound healing responses leading to the development of tissue fibrosis and subsequent organ malfunction. Inflammation is a key component of the wound healing process and promotes the development of organ fibrosis. Here, we review the contribution of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) to wound healing with a particular focus on their role in liver, lung, kidney, skin and myocardial fibrosis. We discuss the role of TLRs on distinct cell populations that participate in the repair process following tissue injury, and the contribution of exogenous and endogenous TLR ligands to the wound healing response. Systemic review of the literature shows that TLRs promote tissue repair and fibrosis in many settings, albeit with profound differences between organs. In particular, TLRs exert a pronounced effect on fibrosis in organs with higher exposure to bacterial TLR ligands, such as the liver. Targeting TLR signaling at the ligand or receptor level may represent a novel strategy for the prevention of maladaptive wound healing and fibrosis in chronically injured organs. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Fibrosis: Translation of basic research to human disease.
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