Toll-like receptors in CNS viral infections

Hyeon Sook Suh, Celia F. Brosnan, Sunhee C. Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

47 Scopus citations


Protection against viral infections is critically dependent upon the early production of significant levels of type 1 interferons and the expression of interferon-stimulated genes that function as the effectors of innate antiviral immunity. Activation of Toll-like receptors on cells of the immune system is known to play an important role in this process. In this chapter we review evidence for a role of TLRs in innate immune responses against viral infections of the central nervous system. By far the most extensive literature pertains to TLR3. Data from various laboratories have shown that TLR3 is expressed in cells endogenous to the CNS, particularly in astrocytes and microglia. Triggering TLR3 by synthetic dsRNA, poly I:C effectively induces innate antiviral responses as well as boosts adaptive immune responses. Additional experiments show cooperative responses between TLRs (3, 7/8 and 9) in mounting an effective antiviral immune response in the periphery. Perhaps the most exciting data are from patient populations that document the critical role that specific TLRs play in specific CNS infections. Studies also suggest that inappropriate activation of the TLRs can result in a pathogenic outcome rather than a protective one. Since TLR ligands are being actively considered for their antiviral and potential adjuvant effects, this will be an important issue to address in the context of the CNS environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationToll-like Receptors
Subtitle of host publicationRoles in Infection and Neuropathology
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783642005480
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
ISSN (Print)0070-217X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Toll-like receptors in CNS viral infections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this