Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are key players in microbial recognition, and are particularly important within the gastrointestinal tract. In this work, we have characterized the role of TLR-7 on colonic epithelial barrier function. Results obtained show that the selective stimulation of TLR-7 leads to an improvement in epithelial barrier function. The mechanisms mediating these effects remain largely unknown, but might include the modulation of tight junctions among epitelial cells.
These observations suggest that the activation of colonic TLR-7 leads to a protective-like response, avoiding bacterial translocation, a process implicated in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders.