T cell proliferation is induced by chronically tlr2-stimulated gingival fibroblasts or monocytes

Carolyn G.J. Moonen, Gerasimos D. Karlis, Ton Schoenmaker, Tim Forouzanfar, Bruno G. Loos, Teun J. de Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


During inflammation of the gums, resident cells of the periodontium, gingival fibroblasts (GFs), interact with heterogeneous cell populations of the innate and adaptive immune system that play a crucial role in protecting the host from pathogenic infectious agents. We investigated the effects of chronic inflammation, by exposing peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), peripheral blood lymphocyte (PBL) cultures, and GF–PBMC cocultures to Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and TLR4 activators for 21 days and assessed whether this influenced leukocyte retention, survival, and proliferation. Chronic stimulation of PBMC–GF cocultures with TLR2 and TLR4 agonists induced a reduction of NK (CD56+CD3−), T (CD3+), and B (CD19+) cells, whereas the number of TLR-expressing monocytes were unaffected. TLR2 agonists doubled the T cell proliferation, likely of a selective population, given the net decrease of T cells. Subsequent chronic exposure experiments without GF, using PBMC and PBL cultures, showed a significantly (p < 0.0001) increased proinflammatory cytokine production of TNF-α and IL-1β up to 21 days only in TLR2-activated PBMC with concomitant T cell proliferation, suggesting a role for monocytes. In conclusion, chronic TLR activation mediates the shift in cell populations during infection. Particularly, TLR2 activators play an important role in T cell proliferation and proinflammatory cytokine production by monocytes, suggesting that TLR2 activation represents a bridge between innate and adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6134
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

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