Neuroinflammation is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease and TNFα as the main inducer of neuroinflammation has neurodegenerative but also pro-regenerative properties, however, the dose-dependent molecular changes on signaling pathway level are not fully understood. We performed quantitative proteomics and phosphoproteomics to target this point. In HT22 cells, we found that TNFα reduced mitochondrial signaling and inhibited mTOR protein translation signaling but also led to induction of neuroprotective MAPKCREB signaling. Stimulation of human neurons with TNFα revealed similar cellular mechanisms. Moreover, a number of synaptic plasticity-associated genes were altered in their expression profile including CREB. SiRNA-mediated knockdown of CREB in human neurons prior to TNFα stimulation led to a reduced number of protein/phospho-protein hits compared to siRNA-mediated knockdown of CREB or TNFα stimulation alone and countermeasured the reduced CREB signaling. In vivo data of TNFα knockout mice showed that learning ability did not depend on TNFα per se but that TNFα was essential for preserving the learning ability after episodes of lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation. This may be based on modulation of CREB/CREB signaling as revealed by the in vitro / in vivo data. Our data show that several molecular targets and signaling pathways induced by TNFα in neurons resemble those seen in Alzheimer's disease pathology.