TNF Alpha Receptor Shedding after Experimental Acute Spinal Cord Injury Academic Article uri icon


  • In a number of stress conditions, the biological effects of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), such as the induction of neuronal apoptosis, are presumably attenuated by the soluble fragments of TNF receptors (sTNFRs). Within 1 h afterspinal cord injury, increased synthesis and/or secretion of TNF-alpha is detectable at the injury site. However, the shedding of ectodomains of TNFRs in the traumatized spinalcord has not yet been reported. In the present study, adult Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to acutespinal cord injury (ASCI) by applying a 25-g Walsh-Tator aneurysm clip at the C8-T1 level. Sham-injured animals underwent laminectomy and facetectomy only. A PE10 catheter was placed in the subarachnoid space to collect the samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from near the injury site. These CSF samples were analyzed by ELISA for the presence of TNF-alpha and soluble TNFR1 and TNFR2 (sTNFR1 and sTNFR2, respectively). The spinalcord tissue was analyzed by immunohistochemistry for the expression of TNF-alpha, TNFR1, and TNFR2, and by the TUNEL technique for the occurrence of neuronal death. The levels of TNFR1 and sTNFR1 in the injured tissue were determined by Western blotting. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the increased neuronal expression of TNF-alpha and its receptors at 6 h post-ASCI. No changes in the intensity of staining were observed in the sham-injured rats. In addition, at 6 h after the injury, a significant increase in the number of TUNEL-positive neurons was observed. Numerous neurons in traumatized tissue were also immunoreactive for activated caspase-3, suggesting that the TUNEL-positive neurons were undergoing an apoptotic death. At 1 h after ASCI, TNF-alpha levels in the CSF were significantly higher than those found in the sham-injured animals, indicating the release of this cytokine into the interstitial fluid. This was followed by a significant increase, compared to the sham-injured controls, in sTNFR1 levels in the CSF at 3 and 6 h after the insult. Unlike sTNFR1, the levels of sTNFR2 in the CSF were unchanged at any time point post-ASCI. The increased shedding of TNFR1 was confirmed by Western blotting. It is concluded that the shedding of TNFR1 receptor may represent an important post-traumatic physiological response aimed at reducing the proapoptotic effect of TNF-alpha.

    PMID: 16083358 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

publication date

  • January 1, 2005