We have investigated the ability of recombinant TNF (mouse and human) to produce acute inflammatory lesions in an established experimental model of inflammation. Upon intradermal injection in rabbit skin, TNF, in amounts as low as 3 x 10(-14) mol/site, was found to be very potent at inducing local neutrophil accumulation and neutrophil-dependent oedema formation, thereby fulfilling two important criteria to be considered as an inflammatory mediator. Our findings further indicate that the pro-inflammatory properties of TNF are probably more related to its immediate stimulatory effects on neutrophils rather than to its slow (protein biosynthesis-dependent effects on endothelial cells. Our data thus show that very low amounts of mouse and human recombinant TNF can initiate an acute inflammatory reaction in vivo in rabbit skin and that TNF is able to evoke two of the four cardinal signs of inflammation.

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