Emerging roles of Toll-like receptor 9 in cardiometabolic disorders

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Growing evidence suggests that damage-associated molecule patterns (DAMPs) and their receptors, pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), are associated with the progression of cardiometabolic disorders, including obesity-related insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Cardiometabolic disorders share sterile chronic inflammation as a major cause; however, the exact mechanisms are still obscure. Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), one of the nucleic acid-sensing TLRs, recognizes DNA fragments derived from pathogens and contributes to self-defense by activation of the innate immune system. In addition, previous studies demonstrated that TLR9 recognizes DNA fragments released from host cells, accelerating sterile inflammation, which is associated with inflammatory diseases such as autoimmune diseases. In obese adipose tissue and atherosclerotic vascular tissue, various stresses release DNA fragments and/or nuclear proteins as DAMPs from degenerated adipocytes and vascular cells. Recent studies indicated that the activation of TLR9 in immune cells including macrophages and dendritic cells by recognition of these DAMPs promotes inflammation in these tissues, which causes cardiometabolic disorders. This review discusses recent advances in understanding the role of sterile inflammation associated with TLR9 and its endogenous ligands in cardiometabolic disorders. New insights into innate immunity may provide better understanding of cardiometabolic disorders and new therapeutic options for these major health threats in recent decades.


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