Toll-like Receptors and Immunogenicity

TLRs are an important part of the immune system and by extension can play an important part in immunogenicity. As mentioned on the previous page once activated TLRs initiate an immune response. It is in this immune response that cells called memory T-cells and memory B-cells will be activated, and it is these cells that effectively 'remember' the pathogen and response to it next time it is introduced into the body. Thereby giving the body an immunity(Schnare et al. 2001). So TLRs are activated by certain pathogen to give an immune response, in which an immunity is gained.

It is because of the fact TLRs initiate an immune response when activated that they are a factor in immunogenicity. That is to say that if TLRs are activated a better immune response will have resulted and thus a better chance at immunity, in comparison to if TLRs were not activated.

Toll-like Receptors, Immunogenicity and Vaccination

Vaccination aims at providing a controlled way for an human/animal to gain an immunity to a pathogen but not by becoming sick from it. Vaccination can do this by injecting a dead or servilely weaken for of that pathogen into the body and activating a smaller immune response (smaller as the pathogen is dead/weaken and cannot easily spread and cause damage) in which an immunity would be gained. Vaccinations in this way rely on the immunogenicity of the substance being injected.

TLRs are only activated by some pathogens and chemicals, but once activated produce a stronger immune response. It is because of this that there are plans to put TLR agonist (chemicals that activated TLRs. They are not pathogens) into vaccines so a stronger immune response will be gained by the vaccine, thus there would be more of a chance that an immunity will be gained to the pathogen intended by the vaccine. So one could conclude introducing TLR agonist into vaccines would increase the immunogenicity of that vaccine (Flanagan, Burl & Plebanski 2010). An example of this is that the USA government has planed to incorporate TLR2 agonist into all TB vaccines by 2012 (Rottinghaus, Vesosky & Turner 2010).

Note: This is the result with young to middle aged people. Infants and the elderly have other factors concerning TLR (next page)

Picture: shows a TLR8 being activated and causing an immune response

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Contributed by Christopher Sutton