The importance of innate immunity for survival is underscored by its presence at almost every level of the evolutionary tree of life. The task of "danger" recognition by the innate immune system is carried out by a broad class of pattern recognition receptors. These receptors are expressed in both hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells such as renal epithelial cells. Upon activation, pattern recognition receptors induce essentially two types of defensive responses: inflammation and phagocytosis. In this review, we highlight evidence that renal epithelial cells are endowed with such defensive capabilities and as such fully participate in renal innate immune responses.
Keywords: Toll-like receptor; endotoxin; epithelial cells; innate immunity; pattern recognition receptors.