The discriminative capacity of soluble Toll-like receptor (sTLR)2 and sTLR4 in inflammatory diseases.
BACKGROUND: The extracellular domains of cytokine receptors are released during inflammation, but little is known about the shedding of Toll-like receptors (TLR) and whether they can be used as diagnostic biomarkers. METHODS: The release of sTLR2 and sTLR4 was studied in in-vitro stimulations, as well as in-vivo during experimental human endotoxemia (n = 11, 2 ng/kg LPS), and in plasma of 394 patients with infections (infectious mononucleosis, measles, respiratory tract infections, bacterial sepsis and candidemia) or non-infectious inflammation (Crohn's disease, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, autoinflammatory syndromes and pancreatitis). Using C-statistics, the value of sTLR2 and sTLR4 levels for discrimination between infections and non-infectious inflammatory diseases, as well as between viral and bacterial infections was analyzed. RESULTS: In-vitro, peripheral blood mononuclear cells released sTLR2 and sTLR4 by exposure to microbial ligands. During experimental human endotoxemia, plasma concentrations peaked after 2 hours (sTLR4) and 4 hours (sTLR2). sTLR4 did not correlate with cytokines, but sTLR2 correlated positively with TNFα (rs = 0.80, P < 0.05), IL-6 (rs = 0.65, P < 0.05), and IL-1Ra (rs = 0.57, P = 0.06), and negatively with IL-10 (rs = -0.58, P = 0.06), respectively. sTLR4 had a similar area under the ROC curve [AUC] for differentiating infectious and non-infectious inflammation compared to CRP: 0.72 (95% CI 0.66-0.79) versus 0.74 (95% CI 0.69-0.80) [P = 0.80], while sTLR2 had a lower AUC: 0.60 (95% CI 0.54-0.66) [P = 0.0004]. CRP differentiated bacterial infections better from viral infections than sTLR2 and sTLR4: AUC 0.94 (95% CI 0.90-0.96) versus 0.58 (95% CI 0.51-0.64) and 0.75 (95% CI 0.70-0.80), respectively [P < 0.0001 for both]. CONCLUSIONS: sTLRs are released into the circulation, and suggest the possibility to use sTLRs as diagnostic tool in inflammatory conditions.
Ten Oever, J; Kox, M; van de Veerdonk, FL; Mothapo, KM; Slavcovici, A; Jansen, TL; Tweehuysen, L; Giamarellos-Bourboulis, EJ; Schneeberger, PM; Wever, PC; Stoffels, M; Simon, A; van der Meer, JWM; Johnson, MD; Kullberg, B-J; Pickkers, P; Pachot, A; Joosten, LAB; Netea, MG
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