Brain injury, as occurs in stroke or head trauma, induces a dramatic increase in levels of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF), but its role in brain injury response is unknown. We generated mice genetically deficient in TNF receptors (TNFR-KO) to determine the role of TNF in brain cell injury responses. Damage to neurons caused by focal cerebral ischemia and epileptic seizures was exacerbated in TNFR-KO mice, indicating that TNF serves a neuroprotective function. Oxidative stress was increased and levels of an antioxidant enzyme reduced in brain cells of TNFR-KO mice, indicating that TNF protects neurons by stimulating antioxidant pathways. Injury-induced microglial activation was suppressed in TNFR-KO mice, demonstrating a key role for TNF in injury-induced immune response. Drugs that target TNF signaling pathways may prove beneficial in treating stroke and traumatic brain injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)