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J Neurovirol. 2002 Dec;8(6):611-24.

Tumor necrosis factor-alpha in normal and diseased brain: Conflicting effects via intraneuronal receptor crosstalk?

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Center for Aging and Developmental Biology, Aab Biomedical Institute, and the Departments of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is pleiotropic mediator of a diverse array of physiological and neurological functions, including both normal regulatory functions and immune responses to infectious agents. Its role in the nervous system is prominent but paradoxical. Studies on uninflamed or "normal" brain have generally attributed TNF-alpha a neuromodulatory effect. In contrast, in inflamed or diseased brain, the abundance of evidence suggests that TNF-alpha has an overall neurotoxic effect, which may be particularly pronounced for virally mediated neurological disease. Still others have found TNF-alpha to be protective under some conditions of neurological insult. It is still uncertain exactly how TNF-alpha is able to induce these opposing effects through receptor activation of only a limited set of cell signaling pathways. In this paper, we provide support from the literature to advance our hypothesis that one mechanism by which TNF-alpha can exert its paradoxical effects in the brain is via crosstalk with signaling pathways of growth factors or other cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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