The choroid plexus--cerebrospinal fluid system: undervaluated pathway of neuroendocrine signaling into the brain.
Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF alpha) is a major proinflammatory cytokine which appears in the cerebrospinal fluid very early after endotoxin challenge, and is likely to be produced locally. Following in vivo and in vitro challenge with endotoxin, we have demonstrated immunocytochemically and by in situ hybridization that pig and guinea-pig choroid plexus ependymal cells can produce TNF alpha. Immuno-electron microscopy shows that this protein is localized within ependymal cells to the cytoplasm and microvilli. We suggest that this TNF alpha may be important in the initiation of the inflammatory response in bacterial meningitis.