Molecular Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 982–991 | Cite as

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

  • Xiaoling Li
  • Juan L Rendon
  • Suhail Akhtar
  • Mashkoor A Choudhry
Research Article


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.



This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants R01AA015731, R01AA015731-04S1 and in part by the Dr. Ralph and Marian C. Falk Medical Research Trust. JL Rendon was supported by NIH grants F30AA020167, T32AA013527 and the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine Combined MD/PhD Program.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoling Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Juan L Rendon
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Suhail Akhtar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mashkoor A Choudhry
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Alcohol Research ProgramLoyola University Chicago Health Sciences DivisionMaywoodUSA
  2. 2.Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences DivisionLoyola University Chicago Stritch School of MedicineMaywoodUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryLoyola University Chicago Health Sciences DivisionMaywoodUSA
  4. 4.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyLoyola University Chicago Health Sciences DivisionMaywoodUSA
  5. 5.Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy ProgramLoyola University Chicago Health Sciences DivisionMaywoodUSA

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