Effects of age, gender, and immunosuppressive agents on in vivo toll-like receptor pathway responses

Niamat Khan, Colin W. Summers, Matthew R. Helbert, Peter D. Arkwright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important in the initiation of immune responses in both health and disease. How TLR activity alters with age, gender, and also with immunosuppressive agents is still largely unexplored. We studied TLR activity in 49 healthy individuals as well as in 26 patients receiving immunosuppressive drugs. TLR activity did not alter significantly between the ages of 2 and 67 years. However, females had twice the TLR7 ligand-induced interferon-I response of males (OR [95% CI] 2.7 [1.4-5.1]), whereas TLR3 and four activities were not significantly different between the sexes. The T-cell immunosuppressant agents cyclosporine, tacrolimus, and azathioprine, as well as low dose glucocorticosteroids did not significantly alter TLR pathway responses. In contrast, high dose glucocorticosteroids reduced in vivo TLR responses by 70%-90%. We suggest that gender differences in TLR responses may help to explain the female preponderance of some autoimmune disorders. Furthermore, an understanding the effects of immunosuppressive agents on TLR-pathway activity should allow more focused therapy for autoimmune disorders. © 2010 American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)372-376
    Number of pages4
    JournalHuman immunology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


    • Autoimmunity
    • Cytokines
    • Gender
    • Immunosuppressive drugs
    • TLR


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