Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor reduces the severity of virus-specific lung immunopathology

Eur J Immunol. 2001 Sep;31(9):2566-73. doi: 10.1002/1521-4141(200109)31:9<2566::aid-immu2566>;2-l.


TNF antagonists are effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease, and have been tried with variable success in other diseases caused by immune damage. To test the hypothesis that viral lung diseases caused by respiratory syncytial virus or influenza virus are partly due to overproduction of TNF, we used anti-TNF antibody to treat mice with lung disease caused by these viruses. TNF depletion reduced pulmonary recruitment of inflammatory cells, cytokine production by T cells and the severity of illness without preventing virus clearance. These broad beneficial effects suggest that TNF antagonists might be tested as treatments of human viral lung diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / immunology*
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / pathology
  • Bronchiolitis, Viral / virology
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Female
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung / virology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / immunology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections / pathology
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / immunology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / pathology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections / virology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology
  • Weight Loss


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cytokines
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha