Human innate immunity plays a pivotal role in host defense against various microbial challenges. Mediated by a family of Toll-like-receptors (TLR) and associated intracellular downstream signaling molecules, human innate immunity can specifically recognize diverse microbial products and many other non-microbial environmental cues. Beyond its role of providing first line of defense, activation of innate immunity signaling can lead to expression of diverse pro- and anti- inflammatory mediators, which are critical for regulating various cell and tissue metabolism. Alteration in innate immunity signaling may therefore lead to infection and inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and cancer. TLR receptors as well as intracellular signaling proteins can serve as therapeutic targets for treating various inflammatory diseases. Several synthetic ligands of TLR receptors such as lipid A analogs, poly(I:C), loxoribine, oligodeoxynucleotides have been shown to be effective in regulating innate immune response. This review discusses the potential, challenge, and recent progress of developing synthetic as well as naturally occurring TLR ligands in regulating innate immunity and treating inflammatory diseases.
Keywords: Innate immunity, inflammation, TLR, agonists, antagonists, signaling
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