What is the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in the pathophysiology of low back pain (LBP)?

Updated: Aug 22, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Other biochemical substances, including TNF, have been implicated as causes. TNF increases vascular permeability and appears to be capable of inducing neuropathic pain. When injected into nerve fascicles, TNF produces changes similar to those seen when nerve roots are exposed to the nucleus pulposus. In addition, a still-unanswered question is whether an autoimmune response occurs when the nucleus pulposus is exposed to the systemic circulation, because it is usually sequestered by the annulus fibrosis and, thus, the immune system may not recognize it as normal. Indeed, research to date suggests that the cause of symptomatic radiculopathy is more complex than just neural dysfunction due to structural impingement.


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