Increased Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) activation and TLR ligands in recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic subjects

Mohan R. Dasu, Sridevi Devaraj, Samuel Park, Ishwarlal Jialal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

396 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Individuals with type 2 diabetes have a myriad of metabolic aberrations including increased inflammation, increasing their cardiovascular risk. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their ligands play a key role in insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. However, there is a paucity of data examining the expression and activity of TLRs in type 2 diabetes. Thus, in the present study, we examined TLR2 and TLR4 mRNA and protein expression, their ligands, and signaling in monocytes of recently diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - TLR mRNA, protein expression, TLR ligands, and TLR signaling were measured in freshly isolated monocytes from healthy human control subjects (n = 23) and type 2 diabetic subjects (n = 23) using real-time RT-PCR, Western blot, and flow cytometric assays. RESULTS - Type 2 diabetic subjects had significantly increased TLR2, TLR4 mRNA, and protein in monocytes compared with control subjects (P < 0.05). Increased TLR2 and TLR4 expression correlated with BMI, homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), glucose, A1C, Nε-(carboxymethyl) lysine (CML), and free fatty acid (FFA). Ligands of TLR2 and TLR4, namely, HSP60, HSP70, HMGB1, endotoxin, and hyaluronan levels, were elevated in type 2 diabetic subjects and positively correlated with TLR2 and TLR4. Type 2 diabetic subjects showed increased MyD88, phosphorylated IRAK-1, Trif, TICAM-1, IRF-3, and NF-κB p65 expression in monocytes compared with control subjects. Furthermore, TLR-MyD88-NF-κB signaling resulted in elevated levels of cytokines (P < 0.05), but increased interleukin (IL)-1β, interferon (IFN)-γ, and endotoxin were not significant when adjusted for BMI. CONCLUSIONS - In this comprehensive study, we make the novel observation that TLR2 and TLR4 expression and their ligands, signaling, and functional activation are increased in recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes and contribute to the proinflammatory state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-868
Number of pages8
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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