Toll-like Receptors 4 and 5 Cooperatively Initiate the Innate Immune Responses to UropathogenicEscherichia coliInfection in Mouse Epididymal Epithelial Cells1

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UropathogenicEscherichia coli(UPEC) may cause epididymitis and impair male fertility. The mechanisms underlying the innate immune responses to UPEC infection in the epididymis are not fully understood. This study showed that UPEC induced innate immune responses in mouse epididymal epithelial cells (EECs) through the activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR5. Infection with UPEC significantly induced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin 6, and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, in EECs through the activation of nuclear factor kappa B. Moreover, UPEC induced the production of type 1 interferons by EECs through the activation of interferon regulatory factor 3. The UPEC-induced innate immune responses were significantly reduced in the EECs ofTlr4orTlr5knockout mice. The innate immune responses were further reduced inTlr4andTlr5double-knockout EECs. Furthermore, we demonstrated that TLR4 and TLR5 cooperatively initiated the epididymal innate immune responses to UPEC infection in vivo. The results provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying the epididymal innate immune responses to UPEC infection.

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