Sex differences in TLR4 expression in SHR do not contribute to sex differences in blood pressure or the renal T cell profile

Kasey M. Belanger, Riyaz Mohamed, R. Clinton Webb, Jennifer C. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hypertension is a primary risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease. Mechanisms controlling blood pressure (BP) in men and women are still being investigated; however, there is increasing evidence supporting a role for the innate immune system. Specifically, Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and TLR4 in particular, have been implicated in the development of hypertension in male spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Despite established sex differences in BP control and inflammatory markers in hypertensive males and females, little is known regarding the role of TLR4 in hypertension in females. Our hypotheses were that male SHR have greater TLR4 expression compared with females, and that sex differences in TLR4 contribute to sex differences in BP and the T cell profile. To test these hypotheses, initial studies measured renal TLR4 protein expression in 13-wk-old male and female SHR. Additional SHR were implanted with telemetry devices and randomized to treatment with either IgG or TLR4 neutralizing antibodies. Untreated control male SHR have greater TLR4 protein expression in the kidney compared with females. However, treatment with TLR4 neutralizing antibody for 2 wk did not significantly alter BP in either male or female SHR. Interestingly, neutralization of TLR4 increased renal CD3þ T cells in female SHR, with no alteration in CD4þ T cells or CD8þ T cells in either sex. Taken together, our data indicate that although male SHR have greater renal TLR4 expression than females, TLR4 does not contribute to the higher BP and more proinflammatory renal T cell profile in males versus females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R319-R325
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Gender
  • Inflammation
  • Kidney

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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