Recent studies have begun to define the mechanisms through which Toll-like receptors (TLRs) regulate intestinal homeostasis in health and disease. Current therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) mostly aim at interrupting the inflammatory cascade through agents that regulate TH1 or TH2 cytokine responses. As recognition grows for TLR dysfunction to play a role in IBD pathogenesis, TLRs could provide another valid interventional target for novel therapy development. However, seemingly contradictory results from studying different murine models of colitis have so far confounded whether therapeutically useful modulation of TLRs is best accomplished by activating, inhibiting, or rather a combination of both at different stages of mucosal disease. This review evaluates potential strategies as well as their rationale and future prospects.
(Inflamm Bowel Dis 2007)