Tumour necrosis factor and inflammatory bowel disease

Br J Surg. 1997 Aug;84(8):1051-8.


Background: Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is a pleiotropic cytokine produced largely by macrophages and T lymphocytes. It has been implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous immunoinflammatory processes. Recently, a number of studies have indicated that anti-TNF antibodies may be of value in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: The literature is reviewed regarding the role of TNF in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease and the results of administering TNF inhibitors.

Results and conclusions: TNF may have a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. The effects of TNF inhibitors are complex and incompletely understood. Anti-TNF antibody strategies may have a role in the treatment of acute exacerbations of the disease but are unlikely to be appropriate therapies for long-term management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / etiology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / adverse effects*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha