Neurochemical Research

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 1077–1084

TNF-α as an Autocrine Mediator and its Role in the Activation of Schwann Cells

  • Yongwei Qin
  • Chun Cheng
  • Haibo Wang
  • Xiaoyi Shao
  • Yongjing Gao
  • Aiguo Shen
Original Paper


In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) derived from activated Schwann cells (SCs) play a critical role as a pleiotropic mediator. In this study, we examined the function of TNF-α as an inflammatory mediator in SCs activation. TNF-α exhibits its biological effect through two distinct surface receptors, TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) and TNFR2. We show here that cultured SCs express both TNFR1 and TNFR2, and that activation of these receptors by TNF-α promotes expression of TNF-α. Meanwhile, TNF-α also increased the production of other inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, TNF-α is involved in the induction of apoptosis through binding to TNFR in SCs. The activation of SCs by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is partially mediated by SCs-derived TNF-α. These findings suggest the existence of a positive feedback loop in the activation of SC via TNF-α. This loop may be involved in the prolonged activation of SCs. Acute or chronic stimulation of TNF-α by SC at sites of PNS inflammation may be critical in determining whether TNF-α has activational, inflammatory, or cytotoxic effects on these cells.


Schwann cell Tumor necrosis factor-α TNF receptor Inflammation Apoptosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yongwei Qin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chun Cheng
    • 3
  • Haibo Wang
    • 3
  • Xiaoyi Shao
    • 3
  • Yongjing Gao
    • 3
  • Aiguo Shen
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Neuroregeneration of JiangSu ProvinceNantong UniversityNantongP.R. China
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, Medical collegeNantong UniversityNantongP.R. China
  3. 3.Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical collegeNantong UniversityNantongP.R. China

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