Epithelial cells may form the first barrier of defense against bacteria in human tissues. We recently revealed that oral epithelial cells generated anti-bacterial factors, such as peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRPs) and β-defensin 2, but not proinflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8), upon stimulation with bacterial cell-surface components. In this study, we found clear expressions of Toll-like receptor (TLR)2, TLR3, TLR4, TLR7, NOD1 and NOD2 in oral, tongue, salivary gland, pharyngeal, esophageal, intestinal, cervical, breast, lung, and kidney epithelial cells. However, tongue, salivary gland, pharyngeal, esophageal, intestinal, cervical, breast, lung, and kidney epithelial cells, as well as oral epithelial cells, did not secrete IL-6, IL-8 or monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in response to chemically synthesized TLR and NOD agonists mimicking microbial components: TLR2 agonistic lipopeptide (Pam3CSSNA), TLR3 agonistic Poly I:C, TLR4 agonistic lipid A (LA-15-PP), TLR7 agonistic single stranded RNA (ssPoly U), NOD1 agonistic iE-DAP (γ-d-glumtamyl-meso-diaminopimelic acid), and NOD2 agonistic muramyldipeptide (MDP). Although PGRPs on oral epithelial cells were significantly up-regulated upon stimulation with these synthetic components, PGRPs on pharyngeal epithelial cells were only slightly up-regulated, and PGRPs on esophageal, intestinal and cervical epithelial cells were not up-regulated upon stimulation with the components. In contrast, stimulation with synthetic TLRs and NODs ligands induced β-defensin 2 generation in all epithelial cells examined. These findings indicate that TLR and NOD in various epithelial cells are functional receptors that induce anti-bacterial responses in general without being accompanied by inflammatory responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas