Neurological adverse events associated with anti-tumor necrosis factor α treatment

J Neurol. 2010 Sep;257(9):1421-31. doi: 10.1007/s00415-010-5591-7. Epub 2010 May 22.


Anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) drugs have been successfully used for the treatment of rheumatic autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), juvenile chronic arthritis, and Crohn's disease. However, they have been associated with different neurological disorders, including alterations of peripheral nerves, multiple sclerosis (MS), optic neuritis (ON) and acute transverse myelitis (ATM). This article reviews the most current aspect regarding neurological adverse events associated with anti-TNF-alpha drugs with emphasis on the possible explanations for this relation and the pathogenic mechanism of TNF-alpha in neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / pathology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / physiology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / adverse effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha