Toll-like 4 receptor inhibitor TAK-242 decreases neuroinflammation in rat brain frontal cortex after stress
The innate immune response is the first line of defence against invading microorganisms and it is also activated in different neurologic/neurodegenerative pathological scenarios. As a result, the family of the innate immune toll-like receptors (TLRs) and, in particular, the genetic/pharmacological manipulation of the TLR-4 signalling pathway emerges as a potential therapeutic strategy. Growing evidence relates stress exposure with altered immune responses, but the precise role of TLR-4 remains partly unknown.
The present study aimed to elucidate whether the elements of the TLR-4 signalling pathway are activated after acute stress exposure in rat brain frontal cortex and its role in the regulation of the stress-induced neuroinflammatory response, by means of its pharmacological modulation with the intravenous administration of the TLR-4 specific inhibitor TAK-242. Considering that TLR-4 responds predominantly to lipopolysaccharide from gram-negative bacteria, we checked whether increased intestinal permeability and a resultant bacterial translocation is a potential regulatory mechanism of stress-induced TLR-4 activation.
Acute restraint stress exposure upregulates TLR-4 expression both at the mRNA and protein level. Stress-induced TLR-4 upregulation is prevented by the protocol of antibiotic intestinal decontamination made to reduce indigenous gastrointestinal microflora, suggesting a role for bacterial translocation on TLR-4 signalling pathway activation. TAK-242 pre-stress administration prevents the accumulation of potentially deleterious inflammatory and oxidative/nitrosative mediators in the brain frontal cortex of rats.
The use of TAK-242 or other TLR-4 signalling pathway inhibitory compounds could be considered as a potential therapeutic adjuvant strategy to constrain the inflammatory process taking place after stress exposure and in stress-related neuropsychiatric diseases.