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Abstract

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) act as innate immune signal sensors and play central roles in host defense. Myeloid differentiation factor (MyD) 88 is a common adaptor molecule required for signaling mediated by TLRs. When the receptors are activated, cells bearing TLRs produce various proinflammatory cytokines in a MyD88-dependent manner. Liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy (PH) requires innate immune responses, particularly interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production by Kupffer cells, although the recognition and activation processes are still unknown. We investigated whether TLR/MyD88 signaling is critical for induction of innate immune responses after PH. In Myd88−/− mice after PH, induction of expression of immediate early genes involved in hepatocyte replication and phosphorylation of STAT3 in the liver, and production of TNF-α/IL-6 by and activation of NF-κB in the Kupffer cells were grossly subnormal and were associated with impaired liver regeneration. However, TLR2, 4 and 9, which recognize gram-negative and -positive bacterial products, are not essential for NF-κB activation and IL-6 production after PH, which excludes a possible contribution of TLR2/TLR4 or TLR9 to MyD88-mediated pathways. In conclusion, the TLR/MyD88 pathway is essential for incidental liver restoration, particularly its early phase. (HEPATOLOGY 2005;41:443–450.)