Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5) is implicated in the innate and adaptive immune responses that are associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In humans TLR5 is expressed on CD4+ T cells and costimulation with flagellin potentiates effector and regulatory T cell responses. The aim of this study was to determine the role of TLR5 in CD4+ T cell subsets versus other cells in induction of disease in a model of T cell-dependent colitis.
TLR5 expression on CD4+ T cells was assessed by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Wildtype (WT) or TLR5-deficient (5−/−) CD4+ T conventional cells (Tconv) and T regulatory cells (Treg) were compared for their ability to induce and suppress T cell transfer colitis, respectively. In addition, the role of TLR5 expression in recipient mice was analyzed.
TLR5 is preferentially expressed on mouse Treg compared to Tconv, although expression levels were low. The colitogenic capacity of WT and 5−/− Tconv was found to be similar and Treg from WT or 5−/− donor animals both prevented T cell transfer colitis in TLR-competent hosts. TLR5 deficiency in recipient mice, however, did affect the disease process, as T cell receptor-β (TCRβ) 5−/− recipients had decreased weight loss compared to TCRβ recipient mice when WT Tconv were used.
TLR5 expression on T cells is not required for induction of or protection from T cell-dependent colitis. Expression of TLR5 in non-T cells has a pathogenic role, since TLR5 deficiency in recipient mice protects against weight loss induced by WT T cells. (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2011;)