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More MS news articles for October 2002

TNF-alpha reduces cerebral blood volume and disrupts tissue homeostasis via an endothelin- and TNFR2-dependent pathway

Brain 2002 Nov;125(Pt 11):2446-2459
Sibson NR, Blamire AM, Perry VH, Gauldie J, Styles P, Anthony DC.
MRC Biochemical and Clinical Magnetic Resonance Unit, Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, CNS Inflammation Group, Molecular Neuropathology Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and Centre for Gene Therapeutics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

TNF-alpha expression is elevated in a variety of neuropathologies, including multiple sclerosis, cerebral malaria and HIV encephalitis.

However, the consequences of such high cerebral TNF-alpha expression remain unresolved.

Here, using MRI, we demonstrate that a focal intrastriatal injection of TNF-alpha causes a significant, acute reduction (15-30%) in cerebral blood volume (CBV), which is dependent on TNF-alpha-type 2 receptor (TNFR2) activation, and can be ameliorated by pre-treatment with a non-specific endothelin (ET) receptor antagonist.

An acute breakdown of the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (B-CSF-B) and a delayed breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) were also observed using contrast-enhanced MRI.

Furthermore, a significant reduction in tissue water diffusion was apparent 24 h after intrastriatal injection of TNF-alpha injection, which may indicate compromise of tissue energy metabolism.

Prolonged expression of endogenous TNF-alpha, achieved through the use of an adenoviral vector expressing TNF-alpha cDNA (Ad5TNF-alpha(m)), caused a sustained depression in CBV in accordance with the single TNF-alpha bolus data.

These findings identify vasoconstriction, disrupted tissue homeostasis and damage to the BBBs as adverse effects of TNF-alpha within the brain, and suggest that antagonists of the endothelin and TNF-alpha type 2 receptors may be therapeutic in TNF-alpha-associated neuropathologies.