Macrophage migration inhibitory factor: A key cytokine in RA, SLE and atherosclerosis

Leilani Llanes Santos, Eric Francis Morand

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Originally discovered and named as an in vitro inhibitor of macrophage migration, the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has now been shown to be a key regulator of acute and chronic immuno-inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), atherosclerosis, and more recently systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Common inflammatory events in these diseases include activation of cells and infiltration by immune cells at the site of injury. MIF actively participates in multiple stages of the inflammatory response, acting on cells directly and/or potentiating the effects entrained by other stimuli. The overlap of inflammatory processes operating in these diseases, the known activities of MIF, and the observation of atherosclerosis as a major comorbidity of RA and SLE, make MIF a strong candidate for therapeutic targeting in these diseases. Moreover, the unique relationship between MIF and glucocorticoids, commonly used in the treatment of RA and SLE but associated with significant side effects, highlights the potential of MIF as a steroid sparing therapeutic target encompassing all three conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalClinica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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