The role of tumour necrosis factor-alpha and IL-1 in polymorphonuclear leucocyte and T lymphocyte recruitment to joint inflammation in adjuvant arthritis

Clin Exp Immunol. 1994 Jul;97(1):26-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.1994.tb06574.x.


The mediators involved in leucocyte recruitment to joints during arthritis are not fully defined, but two important proinflammatory cytokines, IL-1 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), are produced in joints in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We investigated in the rat adjuvant arthritis model whether endogenous IL-1 and TNF-alpha contribute to joint inflammation and polymorphonuclear leucocyte (PMNL) and T lymphocyte infiltration. The migration of 51Cr-labelled rat blood PMNL and 111In-labelled T lymphocytes to the joints of rats with adjuvant arthritis was measured along with plasma protein extravasation, which was quantified using 125I-labelled human albumin. Rats with active arthritis of 5 days' duration received i.p. non-immune serum, polyclonal neutralizing anti-serum to rat TNF-alpha, antiserum to IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta, or both anti-TNF plus anti-IL-1 for 5 days. Treatment with anti-IL-1 alpha and IL-1 beta did not affect plasma protein extravasation, or PMNL or T lymphocyte accumulation in the joints (i.e. talar joint, hind paws, and tail) despite the fact that this treatment inhibited 80-90% of the PMNL migration into dermal sites injected with IL-1 alpha or IL-1 beta. In contrast, anti-TNF-alpha treatment significantly improved clinical scores, decreased plasma protein extravasation by 60-80%, inhibited PMNL accumulation by 40-50% and decreased T lymphocyte accumulation by 30-50%. Treatment with anti-IL-1, together with anti-TNF-alpha, significantly potentiated the inhibition of T lymphocyte accumulation observed with anti-TNF-alpha alone. These results indicate that endogenous TNF-alpha production may play an important role in the inflammatory changes and leucocyte recruitment in this experimental model of human arthritis, while IL-1 may have a less important role in leucocyte recruitment to these joints.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / etiology*
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology
  • Arthritis, Experimental / pathology
  • Cell Movement / immunology
  • Dermatitis / etiology
  • Dermatitis / immunology
  • Dermatitis / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Interleukin-1 / immunology*
  • Joints / immunology
  • Joints / pathology
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha