Numerous studies indicate that toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) led to divergent effects in asthma. The occurrence of autophagy in asthma pathogenesis is still incompletely understood. Here, we aimed to investigate the role of TLR2 and the underlying mechanisms in allergic airway inflammation and autophagy activation.
C57BL/6 and TLR2 knockout (TLR2) mice were subjected to an ovalbumin (OVA)-immunized allergic airway model, and were treated with SP600125. Differential cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined by Wright’s staining. Histological analysis of airway inflammation was determined by haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining. The levels of OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin 10 (IL-10) were detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Proteins expression in lung tissues was detected by western blot, expression of TLR2 was further observed by immunofluorescence. Autophagy activation was determined by western blot and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
TLR2 expression was increased upon OVA challenge, and TLR2 deficiency was associated with decreased allergic airway inflammation. Meanwhile, TLR2 deficiency weakened autophagy activation. Moreover, inhibition of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) by SP600125 also suppressed OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation and autophagy activation. Interestingly, treating TLR2 mice with SP600125 showed similar OVA-induced allergic airway inflammation and autophagy activation compared to that in vehicle-treated TLR2 mice.
TLR2 might contribute to the maintenance of allergic airway inflammation through JNK signaling pathway accompanying with autophagy activation. These findings may provide a novel signal target for prevention of allergic airway inflammation.

Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.