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

Challenging cytokine redundancy: inflammatory cell movement and clinical course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis are normal in lymphotoxin-deficient, but not tumor necrosis factor-deficient, mice.

Lymphotoxin (LT) is widely regarded as a proinflammatory cytokine with activities equivalent to tumor necrosis factor (TNF). The contribution of LT to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) was examined using TNF/LTalpha-/- mice, TNF-/- mice, and a new LTalpha-/- line described here. All mice were generated directly in the C57BL/6 strain and used for the preparation of radiation bone marrow chimeras to reconstitute peripheral lymphoid organs and restore immunocompetence. This approach overcame the problems related to the lack of lymph nodes that results from LTalpha gene targeting. We show here that when LT is absent but TNF is present, EAE progresses normally. In contrast, when TNF is absent but LT is present, EAE is delayed in onset and inflammatory leukocytes fail to move normally into the central nervous system parenchyma, even at the peak of disease. In the absence of both cytokines, the clinical and histological picture is identical to that seen when TNF alone is deficient, including demyelination. Furthermore, the therapeutic inhibition of TNF and LTalpha with soluble TNF receptor in unmanipulated wild-type or TNF-/- mice exactly reproduces these outcomes. We conclude from these studies that TNF and LT are functionally distinct cytokines in vivo, and despite sharing common receptors, show no redundancy of function nor mutual compensation.[1]


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