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Polymorphisms of Toll-like receptors and their pathways in viral hepatitis

Rohit Sawhney, Kumar Visvanathan

Corresponding author name: Kumar Visvanathan
Corresponding author e-mail: kumar.visvanathan@med.monash.edu.au

Citation: Antiviral Therapy 2011; 16:443-458
doi: 10.3851/IMP1820

Date accepted: 28 April 2011
Date published online: 07 June 2011

Abstract

Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are an important part of the innate immune response to a variety of pathogens including hepatic viral infections. Activation of TLRs stimulates a complex intracellular signalling cascade that results in production of proinflammatory cytokines and interferons important for antiviral responses as well as induction of the adaptive arm of the immune system. There is substantial evidence for an important role for TLRs and TLR-mediated signalling in the pathogenesis and outcomes of hepatitis B and C in particular, but it might also influence responses to other viral hepatitis infections. Several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of TLRs, relevant adaptor molecules and cytokines mediated by TLR signalling have been described that alter innate immune responses and have been implicated in a variety of human diseases including viral and other infections. There is now significant evidence that a number of TLR SNPs can affect various clinical outcomes in Caucasian patients with chronic HCV. However, the role of these polymorphisms in acute and other chronic hepatitis infections, including HBV as well as in non-Caucasian populations, has not been elucidated. In addition, results for SNPs downstream of TLR activation, such as in relevant cytokines, are inconsistent and their influence requires further investigation to determine the clinical significance of genetic variations in these mediators.

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