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Am J Pathol. 2011 Oct;179(4):2053-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Ablation of TNF-RI/RII expression in Alzheimer's disease mice leads to an unexpected enhancement of pathology: implications for chronic pan-TNF-α suppressive therapeutic strategies in the brain.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY14642, USA.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by severe memory loss and cognitive impairment. Neuroinflammation, including the extensive production of pro-inflammatory molecules and the activation of microglia, has been implicated in the disease process. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a prototypic pro-inflammatory cytokine, is elevated in AD, is neurotoxic, and colocalizes with amyloid plaques in AD animal models and human brains. We previously demonstrated that the expression of TNF-α is increased in AD mice at ages preceding the development of hallmark amyloid and tau pathological features and that long-term expression of this cytokine in these mice leads to marked neuronal death. Such observations suggest that TNF-α signaling promotes AD pathogenesis and that therapeutics suppressing this cytokine's activity may be beneficial. To dissect TNF-α receptor signaling requirements in AD, we generated triple-transgenic AD mice (3xTg-AD) lacking both TNF-α receptor 1 (TNF-RI) and 2 (TNF-RII), 3xTg-ADxTNF-RI/RII knock out, the cognate receptors of TNF-α. These mice exhibit enhanced amyloid and tau-related pathological features by the age of 15 months, in stark contrast to age-matched 3xTg-AD counterparts. Moreover, 3xTg-ADxTNF-RI/RII knock out-derived primary microglia reveal reduced amyloid-β phagocytic marker expression and phagocytosis activity, indicating that intact TNF-α receptor signaling is critical for microglial-mediated uptake of extracellular amyloid-β peptide pools. Overall, our results demonstrate that globally ablated TNF receptor signaling exacerbates pathogenesis and argues against long-term use of pan-anti-TNF-α inhibitors for the treatment of AD.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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