Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) has been linked to various pathophysiological conditions, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is reported that posttraumatic neuroinflammation is an essential event in the progression of brain injury after TBI. Recent evidences indicate that TLR4 mediates glial phagocytic activity and inflammatory cytokines production. Thus, TLR4 may be an important therapeutic target for neuroinflammatory injury post-TBI. This study was designed to explore potential effects and underlying mechanisms of TLR4 in rats suffered from TBI. TBI model was induced using a controlled cortical impact in rats, and application of TLR4 shRNA silenced TLR4 expression in brain prior to TBI induction. Elevated TLR4 was specifically observed in the hippocampal astrocytes and neurons posttrauma. Interestingly, TLR4 shRNA decreased the concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tissue necrosis factor-α; alleviated hippocampal neuronal damage; reduced brain edema formation; and improved neurological deficits after TBI. Meanwhile, to further explore underlying molecular mechanisms of this neuroprotective effects of TLR4 knockdown, our results showed that TLR4 knockdown significantly inhibited the upregulation of autophagy-associated proteins caused by TBI. More importantly, an autophagy inducer, rapamycin pretreated, could partially abolish neuroprotective effects of TLR4 knockdown on TBI rats. Furthermore, TLR4 silencing markedly suppressed GFAP upregulation and improved cell hypertrophy to attenuate TBI-induced astrocyte activation. Taken together, these findings suggested that TLR4 knockdown ameliorated neuroinflammatory response and brain injury after TBI through suppressing autophagy induction and astrocyte activation.
Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 8, 2017
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