Low-tidal-volume mechanical ventilation induces a toll-like receptor 4-dependent inflammatory response in healthy mice

Michiel Vaneker*, Leo A. Joosten, Leo M.A. Heunks, Dirk G. Snijdelaar, Feico J. Halbertsma, Jan Van Egmond, Mihai G. Netea, Johannes G. Van Der Hoeven, Gert Jan Scheffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Mechanical ventilation (MV) can induce ventilator-induced lung injury. A role for proinflammatory pathways has been proposed. The current studies analyzed the roles of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and TLR2 involvement in the inflammatory response after MV in the healthy lung. Methods: Wild-type (WT) C57BL6, TLR4 knockout (KO), and TLR2 KO mice were mechanically ventilated for 4 h. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid was analyzed for presence of endogenous ligands. Lung homogenates were used to investigate changes in TLR4 and TLR2 expression. Cytokines were measured in lung homogenate and plasma, and leukocytes were counted in lung tissue. Results: MV significantly increased endogenous ligands for TLR4 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and relative messenger RNA expression of TLR4 and TLR2 in lung tissue. In lung homogenates, MV in WT mice increased levels of keratinocyte-derived chemokine, interleukin (IL)-1α, and IL-1β. In TLR4 KO mice, MV increased IL-1α but not IL-1β, and the increase in keratinocyte-derived chemokine was less pronounced. In plasma, MV in WT mice increased levels of IL-6, keratinocyte-derived chemokine, and tumor necrosis factor α. In TLR4 KO mice, MV did not increase levels of IL-6 or tumor necrosis factor α, and the response of keratinocyte-derived chemokine was less pronounced. MV in TLR2 KO mice did not result in different cytokine levels compared with WT mice. In WT and TLR2 KO mice, but not in TLR4 KO mice, MV increased the number of pulmonary leukocytes. Conclusions: The current study supports a role for TLR4 in the inflammatory reaction after short-term MV in healthy lungs. Increasing the understanding of the innate immune response to MV may lead to future treatment advances in ventilator-induced lung injury, in which TLR4 may serve as a therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-472
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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