Involvement of tumor necrosis factor alpha in hippocampal development and function

Avi Mendelsohn, Mahmoud Huleihel, T Levav, H Golan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) is a cytokine produced mainly by cells of the immune system. It is also expressed by brain neurons and glia. The physiological role of TNFalpha in the brain is not yet fully clear. Using TNFalpha-deficient mice, we have examined its role in hippocampal development and function. We report here that TNFalpha is involved in the regulation of morphological development in the hippocampus. TNFalpha-deficient mice exhibited an accelerated maturation of the dentate gyrus region and smaller dendritic trees in CA1 and CA3 regions in young mouse. In addition to its involvement in hippocampal morphogenesis, TNFalpha deficiency specifically improved performance of affected mice in behavioral tasks related to spatial memory. Moreover, lack of TNFalpha increased the expression of nerve growth factor (NGF), but not brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), following performance of the learning task. Our results suggest that TNFalpha actively influences hippocampal development and function. In adult mice, TNFalpha may interfere with memory consolidation, perhaps by regulating NGF levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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