Tumor necrosis factors (TNF): A double-edged sword

Bharat B Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a type II transmembrane protein with a molecular mass of 17 kDa, produced primarily by macrophages. It is a highly pleiotropic cytokine that mediates apoptosis, cell proliferation, immunomodulation, inflammation, viral replication, allergy, arthritis, septic shock, insulin resistance, autoimmune diseases, and other pathological conditions. TNF transmits its signals through two distinct cell surface receptors, with homologous (20-25%) extracellular domain and distinct intracellular domain. These receptors activate the transcription factors NF-κB and AP-1, apoptosis, and mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways, through recruitment of more than a dozen different signaling proteins that form a cascade. While TNF is an integral part of the immune system and is required for host defense, its inappropriate production can be lethal, making it a double-edged sword.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Ligand Assay
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Cytokine
  • JNK
  • NF-κB
  • Receptor
  • Signaling
  • TNF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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