Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) participates in the innate immune response by recognizing viral pathogens. In this study, human brain astrocytes were found to constitutively express TLR3, and this expression was increased by interferon-γ (IFN-γ) or double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Treatment employing dsRNA in astrocytes induced IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) phosphorylation, dimer formation and nuclear translocation followed by STAT1 activation. This treatment also activated nuclear factor-κB, p38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase significantly, while activating extracellular signal-regulated kinase to a lesser extent. Treatment with anti-TLR3 antibody inhibited dsRNA-mediated interleukin-6 (IL-6) production. In the presence of mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitors, astrocytes failed to secrete IL-6 in response to dsRNA treatment. Therefore, dsRNA-induced IL-6 production is dependent on mitogen-activated protein kinases and type I IFN production is dependent on IRF3 in brain astrocytes. These results suggest that brain inflammation, which produces inflammatory cytokines and type I IFNs, may enhance TLR3 expression in astrocytes. Additionally, upregulated TLR3 might modulate inflammatory processes by producing proinflammatory cytokines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy