Toll-Like Receptor 2 signaling protects mice from tumor development in a mouse model of Colitis-induced cancer

Emily L. Lowe, Timothy R. Crother, Shervin Rabizadeh, Bing Hu, Hanlin Wang, Shuang Chen, Kenichi Shimada, Michelle H. Wong, Kathrin S. Michelsen, Moshe Arditi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disorder of chronic inflammation with increased susceptibility to colorectal cancer. The etiology of IBD is unclear but thought to result from a dysregulated adaptive and innate immune response to microbial products in a genetically susceptible host. Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling induced by intestinal commensal bacteria plays a crucial role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis, innate immunity and the enhancement of intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) integrity. However, the role of TLR2 in the development of colorectal cancer has not been studied. We utilized the AOM-DSS model for colitis-associated colorectal cancer (CAC) in wild type (WT) and TLR2-/- mice. Colons harvested from WT and TLR2-/- mice were used for histopathology, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and cytokine analysis. Mice deficient in TLR2 developed significantly more and larger colorectal tumors than their WT controls. We provide evidence that colonic epithelium of TLR2-/- mice have altered immune responses and dysregulated proliferation under steady-state conditions and during colitis, which lead to inflammatory growth signals and predisposition to accelerated neoplastic growth. At the earliest time-points assessed, TLR2-/- colons exhibited a significant increase in aberrant crypt foci (ACF), resulting in tumors that developed earlier and grew larger. In addition, the intestinal microenvironment revealed significantly higher levels of IL-6 and IL-17A concomitant with increased phospho-STAT3 within ACF. These observations indicate that in colitis, TLR2 plays a protective role against the development of CAC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13027
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine


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