Cell Type Specific Expression of Toll-Like Receptors in Human Brains and Implications in Alzheimer's Disease

Biomed Res Int. 2019 Jul 18;2019:7420189. doi: 10.1155/2019/7420189. eCollection 2019.


Toll-like receptors mediate important cellular immune responses upon activation via various pathogenic stimuli such as bacterial or viral components. The activation and subsequent secretion of cytokines and proinflammatory factors occurs in the whole body including the brain. The subsequent inflammatory response is crucial for the immune system to clear the pathogen(s) from the body via the innate and adaptive immune response. Within the brain, astrocytes, neurons, microglia, and oligodendrocytes all bear unique compositions of Toll-like receptors. Besides pathogens, cellular damage and abnormally folded protein aggregates, such as tau and Amyloid beta peptides, have been shown to activate Toll-like receptors in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. This review provides an overview of the different cell type-specific Toll-like receptors of the human brain, their activation mode, and subsequent cellular response, as well as their activation in Alzheimer's disease. Finally, we critically evaluate the therapeutic potential of targeting Toll-like receptors for treatment of Alzheimer's disease as well as discussing the limitation of mouse models in understanding Toll-like receptor function in general and in Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / biosynthesis
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Toll-Like Receptors / biosynthesis*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Toll-Like Receptors