Background: Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), the receptor for endotoxin, mediates hyperinflammatory response and contributes to high mortality during both endotoxin shock and severe sepsis. However, little is known about the role of TLR4 in the pathogenesis of low-grade polymicrobial sepsis, which is often associated with immunosuppression.
Methods: Low-grade polymicrobial sepsis was generated by cecum ligation and puncture. Mortality was monitored in wild- type (C57BL/10ScSn) and TLR4def (C57BL/10ScCr) mice. Ex vivo heart and individual cardiomyocyte function were assessed in Langendorff (Hugo Sachs Elektronik; Harvard Apparatus, Holliston, MA) and IonOptix systems (IonOptix, Milton, MA), respectively. Serum chemistry was tested for liver and kidney injury. Cytokines were examined using a multiplex immunoassay. Neutrophil migratory and phagocytic functions were assessed using flow cytometry. Reactive oxygen species were measured using redox-sensitive dichlorodihydrofluorescein dye.
Results: Following cecum ligation and puncture, wild-type mice developed bacterial peritonitis with mild cardiac dysfunction (n = 3 in sham and n = 8 in cecum ligation and puncture) and a mortality of 23% within 14 days (n = 22). In comparison, septic TLR4def mice had deleterious cardiac dysfunction (n = 6 in sham and n = 10 in cecum ligation and puncture), kidney and liver injury (n = 7), and much higher mortality at 81% (n = 21). The deleterious effects observed in septic TLR4def mice were associated with increased local and systemic cytokine response, reduced neutrophil migratory and phagocytic function, increased reactive oxygen species generation in leukocytes, and impaired bacterial clearance.
Conclusion: TLR4 plays an essential role in host defense against low-grade polymicrobial sepsis by mediating neutrophil migratory/phagocytic functions, attenuating inflammation, reducing reactive oxygen species generation, and enhanced bacterial clearance.
(C) 2014 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.