Role of Toll-like receptor-4 in genetic susceptibility to lung injury induced by residual oil fly ash

Hye Youn Cho, Anne E. Jedlicka, Robert Clarke, Steven K. Kleeberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The mechanisms of susceptibility to particle-induced lung injury are not clearly understood. To evaluate the contribution of genetic background to pulmonary pathogenesis, we compared the lung injury responses to residual oil fly ash (ROFA) in inbred mouse strains and calculated heritability estimates. Significant interstrain (genetic) variation was observed in ROFA-induced lung inflammation and hyperpermeability phenotypes; broad-sense heritability ranged from ∼0.43 to 0.62, and the coefficient of genetic determination ranged from 0.28 to 0.45. C3H/HeJ (HeJ) mice were most resistant to the ROFA-induced injury responses. This was particularly important, as HeJ mice contain a dominant negative mutation in Toll-like receptor-4 (Tlr4). We then characterized ROFA-induced injury and TLR4 signaling in HeJ mice and its coisogenic strain C3H/HeOuJ (OuJ; Tlr4 normal) to understand the potential role of Tlr4 in this model. ROFA-induced lung injury was significantly greater in OuJ mice compared with HeJ mice. ROFA also significantly enhanced transcript and protein levels of lung TLR4 in OuJ but not in HeJ mice. Greater activation of downstream signal molecules (i.e., MYD88, TRAF6, IRAK-1, NF-κB, MAPK, AP-1) was observed in OuJ mice than in HeJ mice before the development of ROFA-induced pulmonary injury. Putative TLR4-dependent inflammatory genes that were differentially induced by ROFA in the two strains include interleukin-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α. Results support an important contribution of genetic background to particle-mediated lung injury, and Tlr4 is a candidate susceptibility gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiological Genomics
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Activator protein-1
  • Heritability
  • Inbred mice
  • Nuclear factor-κB
  • Particle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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