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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Apr 1;88(7):2918-21.

Protective effect of transforming growth factor beta 1 on experimental autoimmune diseases in mice.

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Department of Pathology, Kaplan Cancer Center, New York University School of Medicine, NY 10016.


Interleukin 1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor alpha are thought to contribute to the inflammatory response associated with autoimmune diseases. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) counteracts many effects of these cytokines and has various immunosuppressive properties. In the present study, it is shown that microgram amounts of TGF-beta 1, injected daily for 1-2 weeks, protect against collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (REAE), the animal models for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, respectively. When administered during induction of the disease, TGF-beta 1 prevents CIA but only delays the onset of REAE by 2-3 days. However, when administered during a remission. TGF-beta 1 prevents the occurrence of relapses in REAE. The results suggest that TGF-beta 1 has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, mimicking in some respects the beneficial effects of immunosuppressive drugs in these experimental models of autoimmune disease, but without discernable adverse effects.

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