Toll-like receptors (TLRs) that play key roles in inflammation are also widely expressed in the CNS. While they are well known to activate inflammatory responses to microbial products, TLRs fulfill additional roles in the absence of infection. Emerging evidence suggests that several TLRs play a role in CNS development during fetal life and in repair during adult life. This review discusses the available data on the expression and function of individual TLR family members in the CNS and clarifies why TLRs deserve close scrutiny as a novel group of therapeutic targets for CNS disorders. © The Thomson Corporation.