Citation Pudney J, Anderson DJ. Expression of Toll-like receptors in genital tract tissues from normal and HIV-infected men. Am J Reprod Immunol 2011; 65: 28–43
Problem Cells of the innate immune system use Toll-like receptors (TLRs) to recognize and respond to invading pathogens. This study was carried out to characterize TLR expression in the human male genital tract, an initial infection site for several sexually transmitted pathogens.
Method of Study Immunohistochemistry was used to detect expression of TLRs 1–9 in genital tract tissues from HIV− and HIV+ men.
Results In HIV− men, TLR1+ leukocytes were detected throughout the genital tract. Leukocytes in the penile urethra also expressed TLRs2, 3, 5, 7 and 9. Epithelial cells in most tissues did not express TLRs; exceptions were the prostate, where TLRs3 and 8 were observed on the apical surface of luminal epithelial cells, and the penile urethra, where epithelial cells expressed TLR9. In genital tissues from HIV+ men with AIDS, few TLR+ cells were detected.
Conclusion Cells in the male genital tract can express a variety of TLRs. The penile urethra contained the highest number of TLR+ cells, indicating that this tissue plays a major role in the innate immune defense of the male genital tract. Overall, TLR expression was reduced in genital tissues from HIV+ men.