TLR2, as a Pathogen Recognition Receptor, Plays Critical Roles in Hepatitis B Outcome

Viral Immunol. 2022 Jan-Feb;35(1):15-23. doi: 10.1089/vim.2021.0141. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


The immune system of active and inactive chronic hepatitis B, as prolonged forms of hepatitis B, is unable to eradicate hepatitis B virus (HBV) from the infected hepatocytes completely. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play key roles in the viral recognition and promotion of appropriate immune responses. The molecules also participate in the alteration of the target cell functions and transformation. TLR2 is the unique molecule that makes either homodimer or heterodimer with TLR1 and 6 and shows variable roles against viral infections. Therefore, it has been hypothesized that TLR2 may participate in both immune response against HBV and induction of the virus-related hepatic complications. The studies confirm the hypothesis and revealed that TLR2 is not only one of the main molecules altering the course of HBV infection, but also plays key roles in induction of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver cirrhosis. However, recent studies demonstrated that the molecule can fight against HCC and liver cirrhosis. Collectively, it appears that nutrition habits, TLR2 gene polymorphisms, gut microbiome, HBV antigens, and activation of other receptors may play key roles in the determination of TLR2 functions.

Keywords: hepatitis B virus; prolonged HBV infection; toll-like receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / immunology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / virology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic* / immunology
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / immunology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / virology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2* / genetics


  • TLR2 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2