Toll-like Receptor-2 and Toll-like Receptor-4 Expression on Maternal Neutrophils During Pregnancy


Joshua F. Nitsche, MD, PhD, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of OB/GYN, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine 200 First Street, Rochester, MN 55901, USA.


Nitsche JF, Jiang S-W, Brost BC. Toll-like receptor-2 and toll-like receptor-4 expression on maternal neutrophils during pregnancy. Am J Reprod Immunol 2010; 64: 427–434

Problem  Toll-like receptors (TLR) are an important part of the innate immune system and are present in a variety of human tissues. Work investigating the role of the TLR in pregnancy has thus far focused on placental tissue; however, minimal data is currently available concerning TLR expression in other tissues. Unlike placental tissue, neutrophils are easily retrievable during pregnancy and thus allow assessment of TLR’s prior to delivery.

Method of study  Using real time quantitative PCR this study investigated whether TLR-2 and TLR-4 expression on maternal neutrophils is altered throughout gestation or at the time of labor. A group of 12 non-pregnant women and two groups of ten pregnant patients were enrolled and followed longitudinally, one group throughout gestation and one group throughout the third trimester.

Results  Although increased in the placenta, TLR2 and TLR4 expression on maternal neutrophils changes minimally throughout gestation.

Conclusion  There appears to be very little regulation of TLR2 and TLR4 at the mRNA level during normal pregnancy and labor. However, now that the normal values of TLR expression on maternal neutrophils have been determined it will be possible to compare them to those from pregnancies complicated by such conditions as preeclampsia, preterm labor, or preterm premature rupture of membranes.