Chronic hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of liver disease and liver transplantation worldwide. Ability to mount an effective immune response against both HBV and HCV is associated with spontaneous clearance of both infections, while an inability to do so leads to chronicity of both infections. To mount an effective immune response, both innate and adaptive immune responses must work in tandem. Hence, developing protective immunity to hepatitis viruses is an important goal in order to reduce the global burden of these two infections and prevent development of long-term complications. In this regard, the initial interactions between the pathogen and immune system are pivotal in determining the effectiveness of immune response and subsequent elimination of pathogens. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important regulators of innate and adaptive immune responses to various pathogens and are often involved in initiating and augmenting effective antiviral immunity. Immune-based therapeutic strategies that specifically induce type I interferon responses are associated with functional cure for both chronic HBV and HCV infections. Precisely, TLR7 stimulation mediates an endogenous type I interferon response, which is critical in development of a broad, effective and protective immunity against hepatitis viruses. This review focuses on anti-viral strategies that involve targeting TLR7 that may lead to development of protective immunity and eradication of hepatitis B. © 2014 Funk et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Funk, E., Kottilil, S., Gilliam, B., & Talwani, R. (2014, May 14). Tickling the TLR7 to cure viral hepatitis. Journal of Translational Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-12-129