Activation of toll-like receptor 2 prevents suppression of T-cell interferon γ production by modulating p38/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathways following alcohol and burn injury.

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Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)


Recent studies indicate that toll-like receptors (TLRs) are expressed on T cells and that these receptors directly or indirectly activate the adaptive immune system. We have shown previously that acute alcohol/ethanol (EtOH) intoxication combined with burn injury suppresses mesenteric lymph node (MLN) T-cell interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon γ (IFN-γ) production. We examined whether direct stimulation of T cells with TLR2, 4, 5 and 7 agonists modulates CD3-mediated T-cell IL-2/IFN-γ release following EtOH and burn injury. Male mice were gavaged with EtOH (2.9 gm/kg) 4 h prior to receiving an ~12.5% total body surface area sham or full-thickness burn injury. Animals were killed on d 1 after injury and T cells were purified from MLN and spleens. T cells were cultured with plate-bound anti-CD3 in the presence or absence of various TLR ligands. Although TLR2, 4 and 5 agonists potentiate anti-CD3-dependent IFN-γ by T cells, the TLR2 agonist alone induced IFN-γ production independent of CD3 stimulation. Furthermore, T cells were treated with inhibitors of myeloid differentiation primary response protein 88 (MyD88), TIR domain-containing adaptor protein (TIRAP), p38 and/or extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) to determine the mechanism by which TLR2 mediates IL-2/IFN-γ production. IL-2 was not influenced by TLR agonists. MyD88 and TIRAP inhibitory peptides dose-dependently diminished the ability of T cells to release IFN-γ. p38 and ERK inhibitors also abolished TLR2-mediated T-cell IFN-γ. Together, our findings suggest that TLR2 directly modulates T-cell IFN-γ production following EtOH and burn injury, independent of antigen-presenting cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that MyD88/TIRAP-dependent p38/ERK activation is critical to TLR2-mediated T-cell IFN-γ release following EtOH and burn injury.

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