Pathogen specific cytokine release reveals an effect of TLR2 Arg753Gln during Candida sepsis in humans

Tobias Woehrle, Weidong Du, Achim Goetz, Hsin-Yun Hsu, Thomas O. Joos, Manfred Weiss, Ute Bauer, Uwe B. Brueckner, E. Marion Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are crucial pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) for activation of innate and adapted immunity. TLR2 heterodimerizes with TLR1 or TLR6 to recognize multiple pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) of fungi, Gram-positive pathogens, and mycobacteria. Receptor activation culminates in monocyte, T-helper (Th)1, and Th2 cytokine release. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) Arg753Gln and Arg677Trp affect TLR2 responsiveness and may contribute to the course of sepsis, which is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality during intensive care treatment. We genotyped 325 critically ill patients with septic shock, and performed a detailed clinical follow-up with 47 of these patients. Here, we investigated whether distinct sepsis episodes result in defined plasma cytokine patterns, and whether cytokine profiles may be linked to the TLR2 polymorphisms. Blood sampling was done daily and microbiological testing was performed on a routine basis. DNA was extracted from whole blood and TLR2 SNPs were typed by pyrosequencing. Cytokines were measured by multiplexed array technologies and the leukocyte phenotype was determined by flow cytometry. Among the 325 ICU patients, 17 individuals (5.2%) were heterozygous for Arg753Gln. The SNP Arg677Trp was not found in any patient. Episodes of Gram-negative, Gram-positive, and Candida sepsis were recorded. During Gram-positive sepsis, the cytokine pattern did not differ between Arg753Gln heterozygous patients and wild type patients. By contrast, during Candida sepsis, the Arg753Gln heterozygous patients showed biomarker patterns that differed from wild type patients with elevated TNF-α plasma concentrations, but reduced IFN-γ and IL-8 levels. In conclusion, TLR2 SNP Arg753Gln results in altered cytokine release in response to Candida but not to Gram-positive sepsis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)322-329
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2008


  • Candida
  • Cytokines
  • Sepsis
  • TLR2 SNP


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