Toll-like receptor 2 and 4 expression in the pregnant and non-pregnant human uterine cervix

Behnia S. Lashkari, Shahida Shahana, Dilly O. Anumba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Pelvic infections and sexually transmitted diseases place a burden on health resources and may be associated with premature birth. The mechanisms by which the female reproductive tract (FRT) combats these infections remain ill understood, but are likely to involve the pattern recognition Toll-like receptors (TLR). We sought to compare the expression of TLR-2 and -4 by human pregnant and non-pregnant ectocervical epithelium as a prelude to the investigation of the function of these receptors in this tissue during pregnancy. Using the techniques of reverse-transcriptase polymer chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry, the gene and protein expression of TLR-2 and -4 were studied in the biopsies of ectocervix obtained from non-pregnant premenopausal women (n=21) undergoing hysterectomy, women in the first trimester of pregnancy undergoing non-medically indicated suction pregnancy termination (n=6), and women at term undergoing elective caesarean section (n=11). The expression of TLR2 and TLR4 genes and proteins were upregulated in early and late pregnant ectocervical epithelium, compared with non-pregnant tissue. These findings suggest that the upregulation of TLR2 and TLR4 in the lower FRT may play a key role in the modulation of the innate immune and inflammatory mechanisms of the ectocervix during pregnancy, interacting with other neuroendocrine factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-51
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Reproductive Immunology
Early online date5 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

Bibliographical note

We thank our colleagues at the University Of Sheffield for technical advice and helpful critical evaluation of the work


  • Adult
  • Cervix Uteri
  • Epithelium
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Pregnancy
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4


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