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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of TNF-alpha in the pathogenesis of inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA): a study using a human RA/SCID mouse chimera.

OBJECTIVE: In order to elucidate which cytokine preferentially stimulates the synovium in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), we investigated the roles of tumour necrosis factor alpha ( TNF-alpha) and interleukin 6 ( IL-6) using SCID mice engrafted with human RA tissue (SCID-HuRAg). METHODS: The SCID-HuRAg mice were prepared according to our previously described method. First, SCID-HuRAg mice were treated with chimeric anti- TNF-alpha monoclonal antibody (mAb, 100 microg/mouse) and histological changes were examined 4 weeks after the initial treatment. Secondly, a total of 100 microg of recombinant TNF-alpha or IL-6 (0.6 microg/h) was administered daily to mice using an osmium pump. The histological changes and serum cytokine levels were examined 4 weeks after the initial administration. Human immunoglobulin G (IgG) was administered to mice as a control. RESULTS: Synovial inflammatory cells were significantly decreased after the anti- TNF-alpha mAb treatment; conversely, the degree of synovial inflammation was significantly exacerbated by TNF-alpha administration. The levels of both IL-6 and TNF-alpha in sera were significantly increased by recombinant TNF-alpha administration, while TNF-alpha levels were unchanged by IL-6 administration. This suggests that TNF-alpha controls IL-6 production. Despite the profound changes in inflammation, we found no effects on bone and no articular cartilage damage was produced by TNF-alpha. CONCLUSION: This study provides strong evidence that TNF-alpha is a key molecule in the control of the inflammatory changes that occur in the RA synovium. In addition, TNF-alpha regulates IL-6 production. However, other inflammatory pathways independent of TNF-alpha may contribute to the bone and cartilage damage seen in RA.[1]


  1. The role of TNF-alpha in the pathogenesis of inflammation and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA): a study using a human RA/SCID mouse chimera. Matsuno, H., Yudoh, K., Katayama, R., Nakazawa, F., Uzuki, M., Sawai, T., Yonezawa, T., Saeki, Y., Panayi, G.S., Pitzalis, C., Kimura, T. Rheumatology (Oxford, England) (2002) [Pubmed]
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