The role of TNF in parasitic diseases: still more questions than answers

Heinrich Körner*, Brendan McMorran, Dirk Schlüter, Phillip Fromm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The inhibition of TNF with therapeutic monoclonal antibodies or antibody/receptor fusion proteins in rheumatoid arthritis still constitutes the benchmark for a successful intervention in an ongoing auto-immune-inflammatory disease and underlines the importance of this cytokine. TNF plays a central role in the defence against intracellular infections and is responsible for the promotion of different aspects of the innate immune response such as inflammatory cell recruitment and cell differentiation. While this cytokine generally displays pro-inflammatory activities supporting the early stages of the inflammatory response, it has been demonstrated to be especially important during infection with intracellular pathogens and, consequently, leishmaniasis of TNF-/- mice ends fatally. However, the specific activities of TNF that confer protection are not yet fully understood. This review will summarize the current understanding of TNF function and signalling, and will discuss recent work in the models of malaria, toxoplasmosis, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis with particular emphasis on work with gene-deficient mouse models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-888
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Knockout models
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Malaria
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Trypanosomiasis
  • Tumor necrosis factor


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