Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.  2014 Jun;18(3):225-231. 10.4196/kjpp.2014.18.3.225.

The Protective Role of TLR3 and TLR9 Ligands in Human Pharyngeal Epithelial Cells Infected with Influenza A Virus

  • 1Dalian Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dalian 116021, China. 18940956816@163.com


In this study we aim to extensively investigate the anti-influenza virus immune responses in human pharyngeal epithelial cell line (Hep-2) and evaluate the protective role of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands in seasonal influenza A H1N1 (sH1N1) infections in vitro. We first investigated the expression of the TLRs and cytokines genes in resting and sH1N1 infected Hep-2 cells. Clear expressions of TLR3, TLR9, interleukin (IL)-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interferon (IFN)-beta were detected in resting Hep-2 cells. After sH1N1 infection, a ten-fold of TLR3 and TLR9 were elicited. Concomitant with the TLRs activation, transcriptional expression of IL-6, TNF-alpha and IFN-beta were significantly induced in sH1N1-infected cells. Pre-treatment of cells with poly I:C (an analog of viral double-stranded RNA) and CpG-ODN (a CpG-motif containing oligodeoxydinucleotide) resulted in a strong reduction of viral and cytokines mRNA expression. The results presented indicated the innate immune response activation in Hep-2 cells and affirm the antiviral role of Poly I:C and CpG-ODN in the protection against seasonal influenza A viruses.


Human pharyngeal epithelial cell; Influenza A virus; Innate immune response; TLR ligands
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