Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are proteins that recognize specific molecular patterns of pathogens. They can also interact with a variety of endogenous ligands. When stimulated, TLRs initiate a cascade of signaling events leading to the production of a myriad of cytokines and effector molecules. Early investigations extensively characterized TLRs on cells of the innate immune system. More recently, TLRs have been found to reside in organs such as the heart, lungs, intestines, liver and kidneys. The role of these TLRs is not fully understood and is the subject of intensive current research. The available information indicates that renal TLRs have the potential to interact with exogenous and endogenous ligands, thereby influencing kidney function in health and disease. Here, we present an overview of what is currently known about renal TLRs, and discuss the potential implications for further research and clinical practice.
- Renal failure
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