Twitcher mice have an autosomal recessive mutation in the gene for the lysosomal enzyme galactosylceramidase, which is the same gene that is affected in human globoid cell leukodystrophy (Krabbe's disease). The failure to digest galactosylceramide and psychosine leads to initial pathological changes in oligodendrocytes. Secondary pathological changes that include infiltrating macrophages and other inflammatory responses have been postulated to promote the disease course. TNFalpha levels are elevated in twitcher mice compared to control animals, and studies on another demyelinating disease, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, indicate that TNF promotes pathogenesis via TNF-receptor 1 (TNF-R1). In the present study, twitcher/TNF-R1 deficient mice were generated, and the clinical and pathological course was compared between these mice and regular twitcher mice. There was no statistical evidence for any differences between these two groups of mice for all clinical (life span, weight loss, onset day of twitching) and pathological (demyelination, astrocyte gliosis, macrophage infiltration) measures that were examined. If mice were administered an intraperitoneal injection of LPS, then twitcher/TNF-R1 deficient mice had a longer [corrected] life span and a decreased [corrected] disruption to the blood-brain barrier compared to regular twitcher mice. These results showed that TNF-R1 is not sufficiently activated to affect the pathological and/or clinical signs during the natural course of this disease. However, when there is a secondary insult, TNF-R1 activation does lead to a significant acceleration of the development of clinical and pathological signs.