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1.  Systemically administered anti-TNF therapy ameliorates functional outcomes after focal cerebral ischemia 
The innate immune system contributes to the outcome after stroke, where neuroinflammation and post-stroke systemic immune depression are central features. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which exists in both a transmembrane (tm) and soluble (sol) form, is known to sustain complex inflammatory responses associated with stroke. We tested the effect of systemically blocking only solTNF versus blocking both tmTNF and solTNF on infarct volume, functional outcome and inflammation in focal cerebral ischemia.
We used XPro1595 (a dominant-negative inhibitor of solTNF) and etanercept (which blocks both solTNF and tmTNF) to test the effect of systemic administration on infarct volume, functional recovery and inflammation after focal cerebral ischemia in mice. Functional recovery was evaluated after one, three and five days, and infarct volumes at six hours, 24 hours and five days after ischemia. Brain inflammation, liver acute phase response (APR), spleen and blood leukocyte profiles, along with plasma microvesicle analysis, were evaluated.
We found that both XPro1595 and etanercept significantly improved functional outcomes, altered microglial responses, and modified APR, spleen T cell and microvesicle numbers, but without affecting infarct volumes.
Our data suggest that XPro1595 and etanercept improve functional outcome after focal cerebral ischemia by altering the peripheral immune response, changing blood and spleen cell populations and decreasing granulocyte infiltration into the brain. Blocking solTNF, using XPro1595, was just as efficient as blocking both solTNF and tmTNF using etanercept. Our findings may have implications for future treatments with anti-TNF drugs in TNF-dependent diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12974-014-0203-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4272527  PMID: 25498129
SolTNF and tmTNF; Granulocytes; Behavior; Acute phase response; Microvesicle; Inflammation
2.  Central but not systemic administration of XPro1595 is therapeutic following moderate spinal cord injury in mice 
Glial cell activation and overproduction of inflammatory mediators in the central nervous system (CNS) have been implicated in acute traumatic injuries to the CNS, including spinal cord injury (SCI). Elevated levels of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which exists in both a soluble (sol) and a transmembrane (tm) form, have been found in the lesioned cord early after injury. The contribution of solTNF versus tmTNF to the development of the lesion is, however, still unclear.
We tested the effect of systemically or centrally blocking solTNF alone, using XPro1595, versus using the drug etanercept to block both solTNF and tmTNF compared to a placebo vehicle following moderate SCI in mice. Functional outcomes were evaluated using the Basso Mouse Scale, rung walk test, and thermal hyperalgesia analysis. The inflammatory response in the lesioned cord was investigated using immunohistochemistry and western blotting analyses.
We found that peripheral administration of anti-TNF therapies had no discernable effect on locomotor performances after SCI. In contrast, central administration of XPro1595 resulted in improved locomotor function, decreased anxiety-related behavior, and reduced damage to the lesioned spinal cord, whereas central administration of etanercept had no therapeutic effects. Improvements in XPro1595-treated mice were accompanied by increases in Toll-like receptor 4 and TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2) protein levels and changes in Iba1 protein expression in microglia/macrophages 7 and 28 days after SCI.
These studies suggest that, by selectively blocking solTNF, XPro1595 is neuroprotective when applied directly to the lesioned cord. This protection may be mediated via alteration of the inflammatory environment without suppression of the neuroprotective effects of tmTNF signaling through TNFR2.
PMCID: PMC4176557  PMID: 25204558
Functional outcome; Spinal cord injury; TLR4; TNFR2; Tumor necrosis factor
3.  Immune suppression in cynomolgus monkeys by XPro9523 
mAbs  2013;5(3):384-396.
The CTLA4-Ig fusion proteins abatacept and belatacept are clinically proven immunosuppressants used for rheumatoid arthritis and renal transplant, respectively. Given that both biologics are typically administered chronically by infusion, a need exists for a next-generation CTLA4-Ig with more convenient dosing. We used structure-based protein engineering to optimize the affinity of existing CTLA4-Ig therapeutics for the ligands CD80 and CD86, and for the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn. From a rationally designed library, we identified four substitutions that enhanced binding to human CD80 and CD86. Coupled with two IgG1 Fc substitutions that enhanced binding to human FcRn, these changes comprise the novel CTLA4-Ig fusion protein, XPro9523. Compared with abatacept, XPro9523 demonstrated 5.9-fold, 23-fold, and 12-fold increased binding to CD80, CD86, and FcRn, respectively; compared with belatacept, CD80, CD86, and FcRn binding increased 1.5-fold, 7.7-fold, and 11-fold, respectively. XPro9523 and belatacept suppressed human T cell proliferation and IL-2 production more potently than abatacept. XPro9523 also suppressed inflammation in the mouse collagen-induced arthritis model. In cynomolgus monkeys, XPro9523 saturated CD80 and CD86 more effectively than abatacept and belatacept, potently inhibited IgM and IgG immunization responses, and demonstrated longer half-life. Pharmacokinetic modeling of its increased potency and persistence suggests that, in humans, XPro9523 may demonstrate superior efficacy and dosing convenience compared with abatacept and belatacept.
PMCID: PMC4169032  PMID: 23549103
Abatacept; CD80; CD86; CTLA4-Ig; Fc engineering; FcRn; belatacept; biosuperior; rheumatoid arthritis; transplantation
4.  Blocking Soluble Tumor Necrosis Factor Signaling with Dominant-Negative Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Attenuates Loss of Dopaminergic Neurons in Models of Parkinson's Disease 
The mechanisms that trigger or contribute to loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD) remain unclear and controversial. Elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in CSF and postmortem brains of PD patients and animal models of PD implicate this proinflammatory cytokinein the pathophysiology of the disease; but a role for TNF in mediating loss of DA neuronsin PD has not been clearly demonstrated. Here, we report that neutralization of soluble TNF (solTNF) in vivo with the engineered dominant-negative TNF compound XENP345 (a PEGylated version of the TNF variant A145R/I97T) reduced by 50% the retrograde nigral degeneration induced by a striatal injection of the oxidative neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). XENP345 was neuroprotective only when infused into the nigra, not the striatum. XENP345/6-OHDA rats displayed attenuated amphetamine-induced rotational behavior, indicating preservation of striatal dopamine levels. Similar protective effects were observed with chronic in vivo coinfusionof XENP345 with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the substantia nigra, confirming a role for solTNF-dependent neuroinflammation in nigral degeneration. In embryonic rat midbrain neuron/glia cell cultures exposed to LPS, even delayed administration of XENP345 prevented selective degeneration of DA neurons despite sustained microglia activation and secretion of solTNF. XENP345 also attenuated 6-OHDA-induced DA neuron toxicity in vitro. Collectively, our data demonstrate a role for TNF in vitro and in vivo in two models of PD, and raise the possibility that delaying the progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway in humans is therapeutically feasible with agents capable of blocking solTNF in early stages of PD.
PMCID: PMC3707118  PMID: 16971520
neuroinflammation; TNF; neuronal apoptosis; degeneration; microglia; Parkinson's disease
5.  Inhibition of soluble tumour necrosis factor is therapeutic in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and promotes axon preservation and remyelination 
Brain  2011;134(9):2736-2754.
Tumour necrosis factor is linked to the pathophysiology of various neurodegenerative disorders including multiple sclerosis. Tumour necrosis factor exists in two biologically active forms, soluble and transmembrane. Here we show that selective inhibition of soluble tumour necrosis factor is therapeutic in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Treatment with XPro1595, a selective soluble tumour necrosis factor blocker, improves the clinical outcome, whereas non-selective inhibition of both forms of tumour necrosis factor with etanercept does not result in protection. The therapeutic effect of XPro1595 is associated with axon preservation and improved myelin compaction, paralleled by increased expression of axon-specific molecules (e.g. neurofilament-H) and reduced expression of non-phosphorylated neurofilament-H which is associated with axon damage. XPro1595-treated mice show significant remyelination accompanied by elevated expression of myelin-specific genes and increased numbers of oligodendrocyte precursors. Immunohistochemical characterization of tumour necrosis factor receptors in the spinal cord following experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis shows tumour necrosis factor receptor 1 expression in neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, while tumour necrosis factor receptor 2 is localized in oligodendrocytes, oligodendrocyte precursors, astrocytes and macrophages/microglia. Importantly, a similar pattern of expression is found in post-mortem spinal cord of patients affected by progressive multiple sclerosis, suggesting that pharmacological modulation of tumour necrosis factor receptor signalling may represent an important target in affecting not only the course of mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis but human multiple sclerosis as well. Collectively, our data demonstrate that selective inhibition of soluble tumour necrosis factor improves recovery following experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, and that signalling mediated by transmembrane tumour necrosis factor is essential for axon and myelin preservation as well as remyelination, opening the possibility of a new avenue of treatment for multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3170538  PMID: 21908877
demyelination; multiple sclerosis; neurodegenerative disorders; neuroprotection; myelin repair
6.  Inhibition of Soluble Tumor Necrosis Factor Ameliorates Synaptic Alterations and Ca2+ Dysregulation in Aged Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e38170.
The role of tumor necrosis factor α (TNF) in neural function has been investigated extensively in several neurodegenerative conditions, but rarely in brain aging, where cognitive and physiologic changes are milder and more variable. Here, we show that protein levels for TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) are significantly elevated in the hippocampus relative to TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2) in aged (22 months) but not young adult (6 months) Fischer 344 rats. To determine if altered TNF/TNFR1 interactions contribute to key brain aging biomarkers, aged rats received chronic (4–6 week) intracranial infusions of XPro1595: a soluble dominant negative TNF that preferentially inhibits TNFR1 signaling. Aged rats treated with XPro1595 showed improved Morris Water Maze performance, reduced microglial activation, reduced susceptibility to hippocampal long-term depression, increased protein levels for the GluR1 type glutamate receptor, and lower L-type voltage sensitive Ca2+ channel (VSCC) activity in hippocampal CA1 neurons. The results suggest that diverse functional changes associated with brain aging may arise, in part, from selective alterations in TNF signaling.
PMCID: PMC3362564  PMID: 22666474
7.  Soluble TNF Mediates the Transition from Pulmonary Inflammation to Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2006;1(1):e108.
Fibrosis, the replacement of functional tissue with excessive fibrous tissue, can occur in all the main tissues and organ systems, resulting in various pathological disorders. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is a prototype fibrotic disease involving abnormal wound healing in response to multiple sites of ongoing alveolar epithelial injury.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To decipher the role of TNF and TNF-mediated inflammation in the development of fibrosis, we have utilized the bleomycin-induced animal model of Pulmonary Fibrosis and a series of genetically modified mice lacking components of TNF signaling. Transmembrane TNF expression is shown to be sufficient to elicit an inflammatory response, but inadequate for the transition to the fibrotic phase of the disease. Soluble TNF expression is shown to be crucial for lymphocyte recruitment, a prerequisite for TGF-b1 expression and the development of fibrotic lesions. Moreover, through a series of bone marrow transfers, the necessary TNF expression is shown to originate from the non-hematopoietic compartment further localized in apoptosing epithelial cells.
These results suggest a primary detrimental role of soluble TNF in the pathologic cascade, separating it from the beneficial role of transmembrane TNF, and indicate the importance of assessing the efficacy of soluble TNF antagonists in the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC1762410  PMID: 17205112

Results 1-7 (7)