Methemoglobin Is an Endogenous Toll-Like Receptor 4 Ligand—Relevance to Subarachnoid Hemorrhage
OBJECTIVE Inflammatory injury plays a critical role in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH)-induced secondary brain injury. However, the upstream events that initiate inflammatory responses following ICH remain elusive. Our previous studies suggested that Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) may be the upstream signal that triggers inflammatory injury in ICH. In addition, recent clinical findings indicated that both TLR2 and TLR4 may participate in ICH-induced brain injury. However, it is unclear how TLR2 functions in ICH-induced inflammatory injury and how TLR2 interacts with TLR4. METHODS The role of TLR2 and TLR2/TLR4 heterodimerization in ICH-induced inflammatory injury was investigated in both in vivo and in vitro models of ICH. RESULTS TLR2 mediated ICH-induced inflammatory injury, which forms a heterodimer with TLR4 in both in vivo and in vitro models of ICH. Hemoglobin (Hb), but not other blood components, triggered inflammatory injury in ICH via assembly of TLR2/TLR4 heterodimers. MyD88 (myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88), but not TRIF (Toll/IR-1 domain-containing adaptor protein inducing interferon-beta), was required for ICH-induced TLR2/TLR4 heterodimerization. Mutation of MyD88 Arg196 abolished the TLR2/TLR4 heterodimerization. INTERPRETATION Our results suggest that a novel TLR2/TLR4 heterodimer induced by Hb initiates inflammatory injury in ICH. Interfering with the assembly of the TLR2/TLR4 heterodimer may be a novel target for developing effective treatment of ICH.