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Trends Mol Med. 2008 Sep;14(9):381-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.07.002. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

Interpreting crosstalk between TNF-alpha and NGF: potential implications for disease.

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Medical Research Council (MRC) Cancer Cell Unit, Hutchison/MRC Research Centre, Hills Road Cambridge CB2 0XZ, UK.


Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a proinflammatory cytokine, whereas nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neurotrophin that can promote neural cell survival, differentiation and maturation. However, recent papers indicate that TNF-alpha has a pivotal role in fate decisions of neural cells in normal noninflammatory conditions, whereas NGF contributes to maintenance of inflammation. Although these observations suggest a close relationship between NGF and TNF-alpha signalling, crosstalk between these factors is not fully understood. In this Opinion article, we review recent reports regarding possible crosstalk between NGF and TNF-alpha and we propose a positive-feedback loop of their expression. We discuss the possible mechanisms by which disturbance of the crosstalk could contribute to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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