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Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2009 Jul 31;167(3):261-7. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2009.05.004. Epub 2009 May 21.

Analysis of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine and Immunology, Respiratory Diseases Section, Siena University, Viale Bracci 1, Siena, Italy. bargagli2@gmail.com


By proteomic approach we previously characterised bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) protein profiles of patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), sarcoidosis and systemic sclerosis. Among differently expressed proteins we identified macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), a multi-function pleiotropic cytokine. This study was performed to validate our findings by a further proteomic approach and ELISA in a larger population of patients and controls. MIF expression in lung tissue was also evaluated by immunohistochemistry. MIF was identified in all 2-DE gels of IPF patients and it was significantly increased compared to controls (p<0.05). This result was confirmed by ELISA: MIF concentrations were significantly higher in IPF patients than controls (p<0.001) and were directly correlated with neutrophil percentages (p=0.0095). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed enhanced expression in bronchiolar epithelium, alveolar epithelium, and fibroblastic foci. In conclusion, MIF is a pleiotropic cytokine that could be involved in the pathogenesis of IPF, being particularly abundant in BAL of these patients and mainly expressed in the areas of active fibrosis.

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