What is TNFα?
An Introduction to Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha (TNFα)
Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, TNFα, is a human cytokine associated with systemic inflammation and is an integral component of the acute phase reaction. Primarily, activated macrophages produce TNFα, but other cell types such as natural killer cells, mast cells, T helper cells, eosinophils, and neutrophils can also produce TNFα. These cells produce TNFα as a stable 233 amino acid long homotrimer protein, from which a metalloprotease, TNFα-converting enzyme proteolytically cleaves and releases a soluble homotrimeric cytokine.
TNFα belongs to the TNF superfamily that comprises several transmembrane proteins. The human tumor necrosis factor alpha primarily regulates the immune cells. TNFα is an endogenous pyrogen and therefore, can induce fever, inflammation, and apoptotic cell death. TNFα can inhibit viral replication, oncogenesis, and along with interleukin (IL)-1 and IL-6 cells, it can also respond to sepsis.
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