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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lactoferrin activates macrophages via TLR4-dependent and -independent signaling pathways.

Lactoferrin (LF) is a component of innate immunity and is known to interact with accessory molecules involved in the TLR4 pathway, including CD14 and LPS binding protein, suggesting that LF may activate components of the TLR4 pathway. In the present study, we have asked whether bovine LF (bLF)-induced macrophage activation is TLR4-dependent. Both bLF and LPS stimulated IL-6 production and CD40 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages and in BALB/cJ peritoneal exudate macrophages. However, in macrophages from congenic TLR4(-/-) C.C3-Tlr4(lps-d) mice, CD40 was not expressed while IL-6 secretion was increased relative to wild-type cells. The signaling components NF-kappaB, p38, ERK and JNK were activated in RAW 264.7 cells and BALB/cJ macrophages after bLF or LPS stimulation, demonstrating that the TLR4-dependent bLF activation pathway utilizes signaling components common to LPS activation. In TLR4 deficient macrophages, bLF-induced activation of NF-kappaB, p38, ERK and JNK whereas LPS-induced cell signaling was absent. We conclude from these studies that bLF induces limited and defined macrophage activation and cell signaling events via TLR4-dependent and -independent mechanisms. bLF- induced CD40 expression was TLR4-dependent whereas bLF-induced IL-6 secretion was TLR4-independent, indicating potentially separate pathways for bLF mediated macrophage activation events in innate immunity.[1]


  1. Lactoferrin activates macrophages via TLR4-dependent and -independent signaling pathways. Curran, C.S., Demick, K.P., Mansfield, J.M. Cell. Immunol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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