Toll-like receptors in pregnancy disorders and placental dysfunction

Joan K. Riley, D. Michael Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


The Toll receptor was originally identified as a regulator of embryogenesis in Drosophila. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in mammals recognize infectious agents and other danger signals. Activation of TLRs on trophoblast influences immune cell recruitment, cytokine secretion, and decidual responses to invading pathogens during pregnancy. Importantly, biological effects of TLR signal transduction at multiple maternal-fetal interfaces may contribute to several pregnancy pathologies associated with placental dysfunction, including pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm labor. We herein discuss mechanisms by which TLRs regulate the maternal immune response during normal and abnormal gestation, and we highlight recent data that assign a role to TLRs in the pathophysiology of selected pregnancy-associated complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Inflammation
  • Placental dysfunction
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Preterm birth
  • Toll-like receptor


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