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Expression of Toll-like Receptors in Human Endometrial Epithelial Cells and Cell Lines


Address reprint requests to Steven L. Young, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Missouri School of Medicine, N625 HSC, One Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO, USA. E-mail:


Problem:  Are toll-like receptors (TLRs) expressed by human endometrium and endometrial cell lines?

Methods of study:  Expression of each TLR mRNA species was determined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of proliferative-phase human endometrium, separated endometrial epithelial cells, and the Ishikawa and RL95-2 endometrial epithelial cell lines. U-937 and SKW 6.4 cell lines were used as positive controls. Functional relevance of PCR findings was tested by enzyme-linked immunsorbent assay (ELISA)analysis of IL-8 production after stimulating cell lines with ligands for TLR2-5.

Results:  TLR1-6 and 9 mRNA species were detected in both whole endometrium and separated endometrial epithelial cells. Ishikawa cells expressed TLR2 and TLR5, while RL95-2 cells expressed TLR3, 5, and 9. Response of RL95-2, Ishikawa, and U-937 cells to TLR2-5 ligands was consistent with RT-PCR findings except response to flagellin by Ishikawa cells.

Conclusion:  These studies provide the first evidence of TLR expression in the endometrium of any species and suggest the usefulness of endometrial cell lines to study TLR function.