IFN-γ and TNF-α are involved during Alzheimer disease progression and correlate with nitric oxide production: a study in Algerian patients

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2014 Nov;34(11):839-47. doi: 10.1089/jir.2013.0085. Epub 2014 May 15.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease leading to a progressive and irreversible loss of mental functions. It is characterized by 3 stages according to the evolution and the severity of the symptoms. This disease is associated with an immune disorder, which appears with significant rise in the inflammatory cytokines and increased production of free radicals such as nitric oxide (NO). Our study aims to investigate interferon (IFN)-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) involvement in NO production, in vivo and ex vivo, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from Algerian patients (n=25), according to the different stages of the disease (mild Alzheimer's, moderate Alzheimer's, and severe Alzheimer's) in comparison to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) patients. Interestingly, we observed that in vivo IFN-γ and TNF-α levels assessed in patients with AD in mild and severe stages, respectively, are higher than those observed in patients with moderate stage and MCI. Our in vivo and ex vivo results show that NO production is related to the increased levels of IFN-γ and TNF-α, in mild and severe stages of AD. Remarkably, significant IFN-γ level is only detected in mild stage of AD. Our study suggests that NO production is IFN-γ dependent both in MCI and mild Alzheimer's patients. Further, high levels of NO are associated with an elevation of TNF-α levels in severe stage of AD. Collectively, our data indicate that the proinflammatory cytokine production seems, in part, to be involved in neurological deleterious effects observed during the development of AD through NO pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algeria
  • Alzheimer Disease / immunology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / immunology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology*
  • Male
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Interferon-gamma