Upregulation of multiple toll-like receptors in ferret brain after blast exposure: Potential targets for treatment

Manoj Govindarajulu, Mital Y. Patel, Donna M. Wilder, Jishnu Krishnan, Christina LaValle, Jignesh D. Pandya, Deborah A. Shear, Steven H. Hefeneider, Joseph B. Long, Peethambaran Arun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Although blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) has been designated as the signature injury of recent combat operations, its precise pathological mechanism(s) has not been identified thus far. Prior preclinical studies on bTBI demonstrated acute neuroinflammatory cascades which are known to be contributing to neurodegeneration. Danger-associated chemical patterns are released from the injured cells, which activate non-specific pattern recognition receptors, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs) leading to increased expression of inflammatory genes and release of cytokines. Upregulation of specific TLRs in the brain has been described as a mechanism of injury in diverse brain injury models unrelated to blast exposure. However, the expression profile of various TLRs in bTBI has not been investigated thus far. Hence, we have evaluated the expression of transcripts for TLR1-TLR10 in the brain of a gyrencephalic animal model of bTBI. We exposed ferrets to tightly coupled repeated blasts and determined the differential expression of TLRs (TLR1-10) by quantitative RT-PCR in multiple brain regions at 4 hr, 24 hr, 7 days and 28 days post-blast injury. The results obtained indicate that multiple TLRs are upregulated in the brain at 4 hr, 24 hr, 7 days and 28 days post-blast. Specifically, upregulation of TLR2, TLR4 and TLR9 was noted in different brain regions, suggesting that multiple TLRs might play a role in the pathophysiology of bTBI and that drugs that can inhibit multiple TLRs might have enhanced efficacy to attenuate brain damage and thereby improve bTBI outcome. Taken together, these results suggest that several TLRs are upregulated in the brain after bTBI and participate in the inflammatory response and thereby provide new insights into the disease pathogenesis. Therefore, inhibition of multiple TLRs, including TLR2, 4 and 9, simultaneously might be a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of bTBI.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137364
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - 27 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Blast-induced traumatic brain injury
  • Ferrets
  • Toll-like receptor
  • qRT-PCR


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