Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
MedGenMed. 2006 Apr 26;8(2):25.

TNF-alpha modulation for treatment of Alzheimer's disease: a 6-month pilot study.

Author information

  • 1University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.



Current pharmacologic treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD) do not prevent long-term clinical deterioration. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, a proinflammatory cytokine, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AD.


To investigate the use of a biologic TNF-alpha inhibitor, etanercept was given by perispinal extrathecal administration for the treatment of AD.


This was a prospective, single-center, open-label, pilot (proof-of-concept) study, in which 15 patients with mild-to-severe AD were treated for 6 months. We administered etanercept, 25-50 mg, once weekly by perispinal administration. Main outcome measures included the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive subscale (ADAS-Cog), and the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB).


The average age of our patient population was 76.7. The mean baseline MMSE was 18.2 (n = 15); the mean baseline ADAS-Cog was 20.8 (n = 11); and the mean baseline SIB was 62.5 (n = 5). There was significant improvement with treatment, as measured by all of the primary efficacy variables, through 6 months: MMSE increased by 2.13 -/+ 2.23, ADAS-Cog improved (decreased) by 5.48 -/+ 5.08, and SIB increased by 16.6 -/+ 14.52.


An increasing amount of basic science and clinical evidence implicates inflammatory processes and resulting glial activation in the pathogenesis of AD. This small, open-label pilot study suggests that inhibition of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha may hold promise as a potential approach to AD treatment. Further study in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials is merited.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Medscape, Inc. Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk