The ocular surface is constantly exposed to a wide array of microorganisms. The ability of the cornea to recognize pathogens as foreign and eliminate them is critical to retain its transparency, hence preservation of sight. In the eye, as in other parts of the body, the early response against invading pathogens is provided by innate immunity. Corneal innate immune system uses a series of pattern recognition receptors to detect the presence of pathogens thus allowing for rapid host defense responses to invading microbes. A key component of such receptors is the "Toll-like receptors" (TLRs), which have come to occupy the center stage in innate immunity against invading pathogens. An increasing number of studies have shown that TLRs are expressed by a variety of tissues and cells of the eye and play an important role in ocular defense against microbial infection. Here in this review we summarize the current knowledge about TLR expression in human eye with main emphasis on the cornea, and discuss the future directions of the field.
Keywords: Toll-like receptors, innate immunity, adaptive immunity, keratitis, epithelial, cornea, eye, human
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