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Review

Toll-like receptors and innate immune responses in systemic lupus erythematosus

Robert Lafyatis1* and Ann Marshak-Rothstein2

Author Affiliations

1 Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Rheumatology Section, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA

2 Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA

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Arthritis Research & Therapy 2007, 9:222  doi:10.1186/ar2321

Published: 29 November 2007

Abstract

A series of discoveries over the past several years has provided a new paradigm for understanding autoimmunity in systemic lupus erythematosus. The discoveries of pattern recognition receptors and of how these receptors can be recruited into autoimmune responses underpin this paradigm. The implications of these observations continue to unfold with ongoing investigation into the range and specificity of pattern recognition receptors, into how immune complexes containing nucleic acids trigger these receptors, into how endogenous macromolecular 'danger signals' stimulate innate immune responses, and into the effect of pattern recognition receptor activation on various cell types in initiating and perpetuating autoimmunity. The development of clinical trials using therapeutic agents that target components of the innate immune system suggests that these advances may soon culminate in new medications for treating patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.