Neurodegenerative and neuroprotective effects of tumor Necrosis factor (TNF) in retinal ischemia: opposite roles of TNF receptor 1 and TNF receptor 2.J Neurosci. 2002 Apr 01; 22(7):RC216.JN
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is an important factor in various acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders. In retinal ischemia, we show early, transient upregulation of TNF, TNF receptor 1 (TNF-R1), and TNF-R2 6 hr after reperfusion preceding neuronal cell loss. To assess the specific role of TNF and its receptors, we compared ischemia-reperfusion-induced retinal damage in mice deficient for TNF-R1, TNF-R2, or TNF by quantifying neuronal cell loss 8 d after the insult. Surprisingly, TNF deficiency did not affect overall cell loss, yet absence of TNF-R1 led to a strong reduction of neurodegeneration and lack of TNF-R2 led to an enhancement of neurodegeneration, indicative of TNF-independent and TNF-dependent processes in the retina, with TNF-R1 augmenting neuronal death and TNF-R2 promoting neuroprotection. Western blot analyses of retinas revealed that reduction of neuronal cell loss in TNF-R1/ animals correlated with the presence of activated Akt/protein kinase B (PKB). Inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling pathway reverted neuroprotection in TNF-R1-deficient mice, indicating an instrumental role of Akt/PKB in neuroprotection and TNF-R2 dependence of this pathway. Selective inhibition of TNF-R1 function may represent a new approach to reduce ischemia-induced neuronal damage, being potentially superior to strategies aimed at suppression of TNF activity in general.