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A role for tumor necrosis factor-alpha in ischemia and ischemic preconditioningWatters, Orla; O'Connor, John J (2011-08-02)Abstract During cerebral ischemia, elevation of TNF-α and glutamate to pathophysiological levels may induce dysregulation of normal synaptic processes, leading ultimately to cell death. Previous studies have shown that patients subjected to a mild transient ischemic attack within a critical time window prior to a more severe ischemic episode may show attenuation in the clinical severity of the stroke and result in a more positive functional outcome. Studies with organotypic hippocampal cultures and mixed primary hippocampal cultures have shown that prior incubation with low concentrations of glutamate and TNF-α increase the resistance of neurones to a subsequent insult from glutamate, AMPA and NMDA, while co-exposure of TNF-α and for example AMPA may have neuroprotective effects compared to cultures exposed to excitotoxic agents alone. In addition our work has shown that although glutamate and TNF-α pretreatment induces analogous levels of desensitisation of the intracellular calcium dynamics of neurons under resting conditions and in response to acute glutamate stimulation, their downstream signalling pathways involved in this response do not converge. Glutamate and TNF-α would appear to have opposing effects on resting Ca2+ levels which supports the proposal that they have distinct modes of preconditioning.