Evidence for tmTNF reverse signaling in vivo: Implications for an arginase-1-mediated therapeutic effect of TNF inhibitors during inflammation

iScience. 2021 Mar 21;24(4):102331. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102331. eCollection 2021 Apr 23.


In order to ascertain the significance of transmembrane tumor necrosis factor (tmTNF) reverse signaling in vivo, we generated a triple transgenic mouse model (3TG, TNFR1-/-, TNFR2-/-, and tmTNFKI/KI) in which all canonical tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling was abolished. In bone-marrow-derived macrophages harvested from these mice, various anti-TNF biologics induced the expression of genes characteristic of alternative macrophages and also inhibited the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines mainly through the upregulation of arginase-1. Injections of TNF inhibitors during arthritis increased pro-resolutive markers in bone marrow precursors and joint cells leading to a decrease in arthritis score. These results demonstrate that the binding of anti-TNF biologics to tmTNF results in decreased arthritis severity. Collectively, our data provide evidence for the significance of tmTNF reverse signaling in the modulation of arthritis. They suggest a complementary interpretation of anti-TNF biologics effects in the treatment of inflammatory diseases and pave the way to studies focused on new arginase-1-dependent therapeutic targets.

Keywords: Cell Biology; Immunology.