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Commensal enteric microbiota initiate and perpetuate immune-mediated colitis in HLA-B27 transgenic (TG) rats but not wildtype (non-TG) littermates. However, the role of the innate immune response to bacterial components has not been established.We examined responses induced by bacterial adjuvants through Toll-like receptor (TLR) and NOD2 signaling in T-cell-depleted splenocytes from HLA-B27 TG rats versus non-TG controls.We found that various bacterial adjuvants induced TNF production by cells obtained from specific pathogen-free (SPF) and germ-free (GF, sterile) TG and non-TG rats. Peptidoglycan-polysaccharide (PG-PS), lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and CpG DNA motifs stimulated higher levels of TNF production by SPF TG rat spleen cells compared to non-TG cells. CD11b/c cell depletion eliminated PG-PS and LPS-induced TNF and dramatically reduced CpG-stimulated TNF production. Both SPF and GF TG rat spleens contain more cells that express high levels of CD11b/c and show enhanced mRNA expression of TLR-2 and TLR-4 compared to non-TG rat spleens. In contrast, constitutive and bacterial-induced IL-10 production was markedly lower in TG cells compared to non-TG cells of rats from the same SPF or GF housing conditions. Notably, the ratio of TNF to IL-10 produced after TLR ligand activation was significantly higher in TG than non-TG cells.HLA-B27 TG rats have an aberrant cell composition, altered functional TLR expression, and an intrinsic defect in IL-10 production in response to TLR ligands, which may result in exaggerated proinflammatory responses to commensal enteric bacteria and uncontrolled inflammation in this colitis model.