Tumour necrosis factor-alpha has few morphological effects within the dorsal columns of the spinal cord, in contrast to its effects in the peripheral nervous system

J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Jul 1;106(1-2):130-6. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(00)00213-7.


There is circumstantial evidence implicating the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor (TNF) in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), but there is no direct evidence that TNF can produce demyelination in the central nervous system (CNS). We demonstrate here that single injections of TNF into the dorsal columns of adult rats produced a mild inflammatory response indistinguishable from that seen in control cords, but did not induce demyelination. A similar response was seen when TNF-alpha was injected into dorsal columns where central axons had been remyelinated by Schwann cells. In marked contrast, single intraneural injections of TNF into sciatic nerves produced acute changes in the endoneurial microvascular bed that were followed by demyelination and degeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ethidium / pharmacology
  • Injections
  • Injections, Spinal
  • Male
  • Peripheral Nerves / drug effects*
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Ethidium