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Encyclopedia > TNF alpha
Tumor necrosis factor alpha

In medicine, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα, cachexin or cachectin) is an important cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and the acute phase response.



TNFα is a member of a group of other cytokines that all stimulate the acute phase reaction. It is a 185 amino acid glycoprotein peptide hormone, cleaved from a 212 amino acid-long propeptide. Some cells secrete shorter or longer isoforms. Genetically it links to chromosome 7p21.


TNFα is released by white blood cells, endothelium and several other tissues in the course of damage, e.g. by infection. Its release is stimulated by several other mediators, such as interleukin 1 and bacterial endotoxin. It has a number of actions on various organ systems, generally together with interleukins 1 and 6:


Inhibition of TNFα with a monoclonal antibody or a circulating receptor such as infliximab (Remicade®), etanercept (Enbrel®), or adalimumab (Humira®) are used in modern treatment of various autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

Such drugs may raise the risk of contracting tuberculosis or causing a latent infection to become active. Infliximab and adalimumab have label warnings which state that patients should be evaluated for latent TB infection and treatment should be initiated prior to starting therapy with these medications.

See also

External link

  • TNF (http://www.grt.kyushu-u.ac.jp/spad/account/ligand/tnf-a.html) page.

  Results from FactBites:
TNF-alpha (1751 words)
Additional beneficial functions of TNF-A include its role in the immune response to bacterial, and certain fungal, viral, and parasitic invasions as well as its role in the necrosis of specific tumors.
TNF-A is an acute phase protein which initiates a cascade of cytokines and increases vascular permeability, thereby recruiting macrophage and neutrophils to a site of infection.
Prolonged overproduction of TNF-A also results in a condition known as cachexia, which is characterized by anorexia, net catabolism, weight loss and anemia and which occurs in illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.
Essential role for NF-kappa B (1479 words)
However, to their dismay, it was seen that TNF cannot kill all types of cancer cells and left the question of its possible function as a treatment for cancer, unexplored....until recently.
TNF alpha as of today is known to have two membrane receptors termed Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor (TNFR) 1 and 2, with TNFR1 having the intracellular 'death domain'.
Upon receipt of a signal by TNF alpha, a cytoplasmic retention protein known as I B is degraded in the cytoplasm of these cells.
  More results at FactBites »



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