Tumor necrosis factor in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis

Ann Neurol. 1989 Dec;26(6):787-9. doi: 10.1002/ana.410260618.


We measured levels of alpha-tumor necrosis factor (alpha-TNF) in cerebrospinal fluid and serum samples from 50 drug-free patients with multiple sclerosis, 25 patients with other neurological diseases, 27 patients with non-neurological diseases, and 10 normal subjects. The most elevated levels of alpha-TNF were found in patients with inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. Comparable serum levels of alpha-TNF were detected in normal control subjects, patients with multiple sclerosis, and patients with degenerative neurological diseases. In patients with multiple sclerosis, alpha-TNF levels were also unrelated to time elapsed between the occurrence of clinical exacerbation and the time of sample collection. Only 3 patients with chronic progressive multiple sclerosis had detectable alpha-TNF in the cerebrospinal fluid. Our data do not support a role for elevated levels of circulating alpha-TNF in the maintenance of the disease. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that a transient elevation of alpha-TNF triggers the cellular events leading to demyelination in multiple sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha