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Toll-like receptors (TLR) have been shown to play an essential role in the generation of autoantibodies in mouse models of autoimmunity, but the timing and context of these effects are poorly understood. One hypothesis is that TLR ligands assist in the positive selection of self-reactive B cells into the primary repertoire and, in this way, distinguish between immunogenic and tolerogenic forms of self-antigen. To explore this idea we generated hen egg lysozyme-specific immunoglobulin (Ig(HEL)) and isotype class-switching anti-HEL mice deficient in MyD88, TLR4 or TLR9 signalling and studied B cell development and autoantibody secretion in the presence or absence of an intracellular form of self-antigen HEL that positively selects B1 cells. Our findings show that TLR4, TLR9 and MyD88 are not required for the positive selection of autoreactive B cells in the primary B cell repertoire, nor is MyD88 required for the generation of isotype-switched antibodies in the absence of antigen. These results suggest that the significant effects of TLR on autoimmunity occur in the established repertoire and not during B cell development.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date





1404 - 1412


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Animals, Antibodies, Autoimmunity, B-Lymphocytes, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Flow Cytometry, Immunoglobulin Class Switching, Immunoglobulin M, Mice, Mice, Inbred C3H, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mice, Transgenic, Muramidase, Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88, Signal Transduction, Specific Pathogen-Free Organisms, Toll-Like Receptor 4, Toll-Like Receptor 9