Assessment of anti-TNF-α activities in keratinocytes expressing inducible TNF- α: A novel tool for anti-TNF-α drug screening

Publication Type:
Journal Article
PLoS ONE, 2016, 11 (7)
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© 2016 Udommethaporn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine important in normal and pathological biological processes. Newly synthesized pro-TNF-α is expressed on the plasma membrane and cleaved to release soluble TNF-α protein: both are biologically active. Secreted TNF-α signals through TNF receptors and the membrane-bound TNF-α acts by cell contact-dependent signaling. Anti-TNF-α antibodies have been used effectively for treatment of chronic inflammation, however with adverse side effects. Thus, there is a need for new anti-TNF-α small molecule compounds. Anti-TNF-α activity assays involve treatment of keratinocytes with exogenous TNF-α before or after anti-TNF-α incubation. However, this model fails to address the dual signaling of TNF-α. Here we describe a Doxycycline (Dox)-inducible TNF-α (HaCaT-TNF-α) expression system in keratinocytes. Using this in-vitro model, we show cell inhibition and induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and markers, including IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, NF-êB1, and KRT-16, similar to cells treated with exogenous TNF-α. Sufficient secreted TNF-α produced also activated IL-1β and IL-8 expression in wt HaCaT cells. Importantly, stimulated expression of IL-1β and IL-8 in HaCaT-TNF-α were blocked by Quercetin, a flavanol shown to possess anti-TNF-α activities. This novel in vitro cell model provides an efficient tool to investigate the dual signaling of TNF-α. Importantly, this model provides an effective, fast, and simple screening for compounds with anti-TNF-α activities for chronic inflammatory disease therapies.
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