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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology
IF: 1.352 5-Year IF: 3.347 SJR: 0.657 SNIP: 0.55 CiteScore™: 2.19

ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.2019031012
pages 289-311

Pattern Recognition Receptors and Liver Failure

Jun Wu
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Meihong Han
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Jia Li
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Xiaoli Yang
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Xin Zhen
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Joerg Friedrich Schlaak
Department of Internal Medicine, Evangelisches Krankenhaus Duisburg-Nord, Duisburg, Germany
Dongliang Yang
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Mengji Lu
Department of Infectious Diseases, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; Institute of Virology, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany


Liver failure is a clinical syndrome with many causes, a complicated pathogenesis, diverse clinical manifestations, and very high mortality. No effective treatment is yet available. Main pathological processes of liver failure include direct damage to parenchymal and nonparenchymal liver cells that might be caused by viruses or drugs, immune-mediated indirect damage, inflammation, and ischemia-hypoxia injury that further strengthen liver damage and lead to endotoxemia. Among these causes, viral or bacterial components (called pathogen-associated and damage-associated molecular patterns) are released during tissue damage and cell death and may be recognized by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to induce secretion of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and activate immune cells. This process is an important mechanism that underlies the progression of liver failure. Research concerning the roles of PRR signaling pathways in liver failure is expected to result in development of immunomodulatory drugs to target specific disease stages, immune cells, and signal transduction molecules. This article briefly introduces the research status of six main PRRs (Toll-like receptors, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors, retinoic-acid-inducible gene I-like receptors, cytosolic DNA sensors, C-type lectin receptors, and inflammasomes) in acute liver failure and acute-on-chronic liver failure and explores further research directions.


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