TNF - Definition

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The tumor necrosis factor (TNF), also called cachexin, cachectin, is a cytokine, or a protein synthesized by certain cells of the immune system that are involved in intercell communication. There are several types of TNF, all harmful to the body as they cause the inflammation of certain cells, or even their premature death, called cellular necrosis. TNF are sometimes abnormally synthesized by the body, notably in cases of certain inflammatory conditions affecting this process such as rheumatoid polyarthritis or cancer. This is why certain drugs that reduce the effects of these TNFs, called anti-TNF agents, are sometimes used in therapy.