A sensitive radioimmunoassay was used for monitoring serum levels of endogenous cachectin/tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) in 10 renal transplant recipients. Acute allograft rejections were associated with marked elevations of circulating TNF. The peak levels of TNF (median 140 pg/ml) were in the same concentration range as previously reported in parasitic infections. The results show that the release of TNF into circulation is an early event in renal allograft rejection and that raised levels of TNF in man can also be induced by noninfectious stimuli.

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