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Keywords:

  • Invasive pyogenic infections;
  • IRAK4;
  • MyD88;
  • Primary immunodeficiency;
  • Toll-like receptors

Most Toll-like-receptors (TLRs) and interleukin-1 receptors (IL-1Rs) signal via myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MyD88) and interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK-4). The combined roles of these two receptor families in the course of experimental infections have been assessed in MyD88- and IRAK-4-deficient mice for almost fifteen years. These animals have been shown to be susceptible to 46 pathogens: 27 bacteria, eight viruses, seven parasites, and four fungi. Humans with inborn MyD88 or IRAK-4 deficiency were first identified in 2003. They suffer from naturally occurring life-threatening infections caused by a small number of bacterial species, although the incidence and severity of these infections decrease with age. Mouse TLR- and IL-1R-dependent immunity mediated by MyD88 and IRAK-4 seems to be vital to combat a wide array of experimentally administered pathogens at most ages. By contrast, human TLR- and IL-1R-dependent immunity mediated by MyD88 and IRAK-4 seems to be effective in the natural setting against only a few bacteria and is most important in infancy and early childhood. The roles of TLRs and IL-1Rs in protective immunity deduced from studies in mutant mice subjected to experimental infections should therefore be reconsidered in the light of findings for natural infections in humans carrying mutations as discussed in this review.