Expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in regenerating muscle fibers in inflammatory and non-inflammatory myopathies

Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Mar;105(3):217-24. doi: 10.1007/s00401-002-0635-4. Epub 2002 Nov 22.


The expression level of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha is elevated in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), but the precise role of TNF-alpha is unknown. To elucidate the possible role of TNF-alpha, we investigated the expression of TNF-alpha and its receptor in polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), and DMD using in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunohistochemistry. We showed that TNF-alpha mRNA and protein were present in muscle fibers. TNF-alpha-positive fibers were observed in all cases of PM, DM and DMD, but were rare or absent in neurogenic disorders and normal controls. The proportion of TNF-alpha-positive fiber showed a significant positive correlation with the proportion of regenerating fibers that were positive for the developmental form of myosin heavy chain (MHC-d). The number of TNF receptor-positive fibers was small. Some muscle fibers expressed both TNF-alpha and its receptor simultaneously. Our results indicate that TNF-alpha is produced and expressed by muscle fibers and associated with muscle regeneration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatomyositis / metabolism
  • Dermatomyositis / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Muscular Diseases / pathology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / metabolism
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / pathology
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Polymyositis / metabolism
  • Polymyositis / pathology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / biosynthesis
  • Regeneration*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Myosin Heavy Chains