Chronic stress promotes lymphocyte reduction through TLR2 mediated PI3K signaling in a β-arrestin 2 dependent manner

Hui Li, Lin Chen, Ying Zhang, Gene LeSage, Yi Zhang, Yan Wu, Gregory Hanley, Shenggang Sun, Deling Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Physical and psychological stress can alter the immune system in both humans and animals. Stress is a known risk factor for numerous human diseases, such as infectious and autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a pivotal role in the induction of innate and adaptive immune response. Our previous studies have shown that TLR4 deficiency prevents stress-induced splenocyte reduction. However, the role of TLR2 in stress-mediated lymphocyte reduction is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of TLR2 ligands on stress-induced lymphocyte reduction. We also defined whether the phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks)/Akt pathway contributes to TLR2-mediated lymphocyte numbers altered by stress. Our data have shown that stimulation of TLR2 by TLR2 ligands peptidoglycan (PGN) or Pam3CSK4 (Pam3) attenuates stress-induced reduction in lymphocyte numbers. However, TLR2 ligand-induced protection from stress-induced lymphocyte reduction is lost in TLR2 deficiency in mice. Furthermore, stimulation of TLR2 by PGN induces protection from stress-induced reduction in the number of splenocytes through PI3K. Moreover, PGN dramatically increases the level of phosphorylation of Akt through a PI3K-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that stimulation of TLR2 by PGN induced protection from stress-induced reduction in splenocyte numbers is abolished in β-arrestin 2 deficient mice. In addition, PGN-induced immune protection in stress-induced changes of cytokine levels appears to require -arrestin 2, a multifunctional adaptor and signal transducer. Collectively, our study thus demonstrates that stimulation of TLR2-mediated PI3K signaling attenuates splenocyte reduction induced by stress, and that β-arrestin 2 modulates TLR2-mediated immune response following stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt
  • Lymphocytes
  • PI3K
  • Stress
  • TLR2
  • β-Arrestin 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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