In order to study the effect of glycosylation on its biological activities, and to develop TNFα with less deleterious effects, recombinant human TNFα was chemically coupled with N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc). NeuAc with C9 spacer was coupled to TNFα by acyl azide method. Two glycosylated TNFαs, designated L NeuAc-TNFα and H NeuAc-TNFα, were purified by anion-exchange chromatography. NeuAc coupling to TNFα was confirmed by lectin blotting. Average number of carbohydrate molecules introduced per molecule of L NeuAc-TNFα and H NeuAc-TNFα were estimated to be 1.0 and 1.5, respectively. We examined a variety of TNFα activities in vitro, including antiproliferative or cytotoxic activities to tumor cells, proliferative effect on fibroblast cells, stimulatory effects on IL-6 production by melanoma cells and NF-κB activation in hepatoma cells. L NeuAc-TNFα and H NeuAc-TNFα exhibited reduced activities about 1/3 and 1/10 as compared to native TNFα in all the activities performed in vitro.