Inflammatory mediators, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-1beta, appear integral in initiating and/or propagating Alzheimer's disease (AD)-associated pathogenesis. We have previously observed a significant increase in the number of mRNA transcripts encoding the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-α, which correlated to regionally enhanced microglial activation in the brains of triple transgenic mice (3xTg-AD) before the onset of overt amyloid pathology. In this study, we reveal that neurons serve as significant sources of TNF-α in 3xTg-AD mice. To further define the role of neuronally derived TNF-α during early AD-like pathology, a recombinant adeno-associated virus vector expressing TNF-α was stereotactically delivered to 2-month-old 3xTg-AD mice and non-transgenic control mice to produce sustained focal cytokine expression. At 6 months of age, 3xTg-AD mice exhibited evidence of enhanced intracellular levels of amyloid-β and hyperphosphorylated tau, as well as microglial activation. At 12 months of age, both TNF receptor II and Jun-related mRNA levels were significantly enhanced, and peripheral cell infiltration and neuronal death were observed in 3xTg-AD mice, but not in non-transgenic mice. These data indicate that a pathological interaction exists between TNF-α and the AD-related transgene products in the brains of 3xTg-AD mice. Results presented here suggest that chronic neuronal TNF-α expression promotes inflammation and, ultimately, neuronal cell death in this AD mouse model, advocating the development of TNF-α-specific agents to subvert AD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine