Lymphoid tissue and emphysema in the lungs of transgenic mice inducibly expressing tumor necrosis factor-alpha

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2004 Apr;30(4):438-48. doi: 10.1165/rcmb.2003-0062OC. Epub 2003 Sep 11.


To develop a model in which the pathogenic effects of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) could be investigated, transgenic mice that express TNF in the lung under the control of a doxycycline-inducible promoter were generated. TNF transgene message was expressed at a low level in the absence of doxycycline treatment and was induced in the lung by administration of the drug. Analysis of lung lavage fluid indicated increases in neutrophils and lymphocytes in doxycycline-treated transgenic mice. Histologic analysis of lungs from adult transgenic mice treated with doxycycline revealed prominent development of lymphoid tissue and increases in airspace size. Genes upregulated in TNF transgenic mice, as identified by oligonucleotide microarray analysis, included a variety of transcripts expressed in lymphoid tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated the presence of B lymphocytes and, to a lesser extent, T lymphocytes within lymphoid aggregates in TNF transgenic mice. CD8-positive T cells were absent from lymphocytic nodules, but in the lung parenchyma were more abundant in transgenic than in nontransgenic mice. These results indicate that induction of TNF in adult lung promotes the formation of lymphoid tissue and emphysema, and provides a model in which the pathogenic effects of TNF on the lung can be investigated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Doxycycline / adverse effects
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / chemically induced
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / genetics
  • Pulmonary Emphysema / pathology*
  • Transgenes
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Doxycycline