Objective: To outline the emerging significance of Tolllike receptor (TLR) signaling pathways in surgical diseases. Data Sources: A systematic review of the literature was undertaken by searching the MEDLINE database for the period 1966 to 2005 without language restriction. Study Selection: Original or review articles that described experimental data on the activation of TLR signaling pathways in surgically relevant diseases were selected for inclusion in this review. Data Extraction: Data were obtained from peerreviewed articles and references. Data Synthesis: The role of TLRs in the recognition of pathogens renders them a key figure in the activation of both innate and adaptive immune responses during sepsis. However, emerging evidence points to fundamentally important roles in ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease, and Helicobacter pylori infection in the gastrointestinal tract and in the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that the regulation of the TLR pathway fulfills a central role in anticancer immunotherapy and in organ rejection after transplantation. Conclusion: Given the clinical significance of TLR pathways, the targeting of individual molecular components is likely to offer a broad range of future therapeutic modalities.
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