Immunomodulatory effects of etanercept in a model of brain injury act through attenuation of the acute-phase response.
Campbell SJ., Jiang Y., Davis AEM., Farrands R., Holbrook J., Leppert D., Anthony DC.
TNF-alpha has proved to be a successful target in the treatment of many peripheral inflammatory diseases, but the same interventions worsen immune-mediated CNS disease. However, anti-TNF-alpha strategies may offer promise as therapy for non-immune CNS injury. In this study, we have microinjected IL-1beta or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the rat brain as a simple model of brain injury and have systemically administered the TNF-alpha antagonist etanercept to discover whether hepatic TNF-alpha, produced as part of the acute-phase response to CNS injury, modulates the inflammatory response in the brain. We report a significant reduction in neutrophil numbers recruited to the IL-1beta- or LPS-challenged brain as a result of TNF-alpha inhibition. We also show an attenuation in the levels of hepatic mRNA including TNF-alpha mRNA and of TNF-alpha-induced genes, such as the chemokines CCL-2, CXCL-5, and CXCL-10, although other chemokines elevated by the injury were not significantly changed. The reduction in hepatic chemokine synthesis results in reduced numbers of circulating neutrophils, and also a reduction in the numbers recruited to the liver as a consequence of brain injury. These findings suggest that TNF-alpha inhibitors may reduce CNS inflammatory responses by targeting the hepatic acute-phase response, and thus therapies for brain injury need not cross the blood-brain barrier to be effective.