Toll-like receptor 4 signaling regulates the acute local inflammatory response to injury and the fibrosis/neovascularization of sterile wounds

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The role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in the regulation of inflammation and fibrosis in sterile wounds was investigated in TLR4 signal-deficient (C3H/HeJ or TLR4−/−) and control mice using the subcutaneously implanted polyvinyl alcohol sponge wound model. Total and differential wound cell counts 1, 3, and 7 days after injury did not differ between C3H/HeJ and C3H/HeOuJ animals. Blood monocytes from both strains expressed CCR2 equally. Day one wounds in C3H/HeJ mice contained fewer Gr-1high wound macrophages, CCL3, and CCL5, and more CCL17 than those in controls. The accumulation of CCL2, CX3CL1, tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-12, and interferon-γ in wound fluids was not TLR4 dependent. Wound macrophages from C3H/HeJ and C3H/HeOuJ mice expressed CCR4 and CCR5, but not CCR1 or CCR3. Wound macrophage recruitment was not altered in CCR5−/− mice or in C3H/HeOuJ animals injected with neutralizing anti-CCL3 and anti-CCL5 antibodies. Neutralization of the CCR4 ligand CCL17 in C3H/HeJ mice did not alter wound macrophage populations. There was a twofold increase in collagen content and number of neovessels in 21-day-old wounds in C3H/HeJ vs. C3H/HeOuJ mice. There were no differences between strains in the number of myofibroblasts in the wounds 7 or 21 days postwounding. The increased fibrosis and angiogenesis in wounds from /HeJ mice correlated with higher concentrations of transforming growth factor-β and fibroblast growth factor 2 in wound fluids from these animals. Wound fluids did not contain detectable lipopolysaccharide and did not induce IκBα degradation in J774.A1 macrophages. Results support a role for endogenous ligands of TLR4 in the regulation of inflammation and repair in sterile wounds.

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