Recent studies have identified a key role for macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in a number of immune cell-mediated diseases. The current study investigated the potential role of MIF in acute allograft rejection. Lewis rats underwent bilateral nephrectomy and then received an orthotopic DA renal allograft or an orthotopic Lewis renal isograft. Groups of six animals were killed at day 1 or 5 after transplantation. No immunosuppression was used. Animals receiving a renal allograft exhibited severe rejection on day 5, as shown by high levels of serum creatinine, very low rates of creatinine clearance, and severe tubulitis with a dense macrophage and T cell infiltrate. In contrast, isografts had normal renal function on day 5 with no histological evidence of rejection. Northern blotting showed that renal MIF mRNA expression was unchanged at day 1, but was increased 3.5-fold on day 5. In situ hybridization showed a marked increase in MIF mRNA expression by tubular cells and MIF mRNA expression by many infiltrating mononuclear cells in day 5 allografts. Immunostaining confirmed an increase in tubular MIF protein expression, particularly in areas of severe tubular damage with prominent leucocytic infiltration. Double staining showed that many infiltrating macrophages and T cells expressed the MIF protein in day 5 allografts. There was only a minor increase in MIF expression in day 5 isografts, demonstrating that neither surgical injury nor stress cause significant up-regulation of MIF expression in allograft rejection. In conclusion, this study has demonstrated that local MIF production is specifically increased in acute renal allograft rejection. These results suggest that MIF may play an important role in the cellular immune response mediating acute allograft rejection.
- Macrophage migration inhibitory factor
- T cell