Bacteria often infect the endometrium of cattle to cause endometritis, uterine disease, and infertility. Lipopeptides are commonly foundamongbacteria and are detected by the Toll-like receptor (TLR) cell surface receptor TLR2 on immune cells. Heterodimers of TLR2 with TLR1 or TLR6 activate MAPK and nuclear factor-κB intracellular signaling pathways to stimulate inflammatory responses. In the endometrium, epithelial and stromal cells are the first to encounter invading bacteria, so the present study explored whether endometrial cells can also mount inflammatory responses to bacterial lipopeptides via TLRs. The supernatants of pure populations of primary bovine endometrial epithelial and stromal cells accumulated the cytokine IL-6 and the chemokine IL-8 in response to triacylated or diacylated bacterial lipopeptides. The accumulation of IL-6 and IL-8 in response to triacylated lipopeptides was reduced by small interfering RNA targeting TLR2 or TLR1 but not TLR6, whereas cellular responses to diacylated lipopeptide were reduced by small interfering RNA targeting TLR2, TLR1, or TLR6. Both lipopeptides induced rapid phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38, and nuclear factor-κB in endometrial cells, and inhibitorsofERK1/ 2orp38limitedtheaccumulationofIL-6.Theovariansteroidsestradiolandprogesterone had little impact on inflammatory responses to lipopeptides. The endometrial epithelial and stromal cell responses to lipopeptides via TLR2, TLR1, and TLR6 provide a mechanism linking a wide range of bacterial infections to inflammation of the endometrium.
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