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Ann Neurol. 1988 Apr;23(4):339-46.

Tumor necrosis factor mediates myelin and oligodendrocyte damage in vitro.

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Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY 10461.


Recombinant human tumor necrosis factor (rhTNF) has been tested for its effect on myelinated cultures of mouse spinal cord tissue. As controls, recombinant human interferon gamma (rhIFN) and interleukin-2 (rhIL-2) were tested, as well as T-cell supernatants, antigalactocerebroside serum, and normal culture medium. It was found that rhTNF induced delayed-onset (18-24 hr) oligodendrocyte necrosis and a type of myelin dilatation peculiar to this system. Some nerve fibers progressed to demyelination by 72 hours. The myelin dilatation was not reversible by return to normal feeding solution for 3 days. In contrast, rhIFN, rhIL-2, T-cell supernatants, and normal medium had little or no effect on cultures. This mechanism differs from other immune-mediated mechanisms in that it appears that a physiological (not structural) demyelination occurs initially without overt destruction of the myelin sheath. These observations are relevant to the evolution of the multiple sclerosis plaque: dysfunction of ionic channels might contribute to the eventual demise of oligodendrocytes and axons in the longstanding lesion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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