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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 18;274(25):18100-6.

Sustained mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 activation by macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Regulatory role in cell proliferation and glucocorticoid action.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pathology, Albany Medical College, Albany, New York 12208, USA.


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an important pro-inflammatory mediator with the unique ability to counter-regulate the inhibitory effects of glucocorticoids on immune cell activation. MIF is released from cells in response to glucocorticoids, certain pro-inflammatory stimuli, and mitogens and acts to regulate glucocorticoid action on the ensuing inflammatory response. To gain insight into the molecular mechanism of MIF action, we have examined the role of MIF in the proliferation and intracellular signaling events of the well characterized, NIH/3T3 fibroblast cell line. Both endogenously secreted and exogenously added MIFs stimulate the proliferation of NIH/3T3 cells, and this response is associated with the activation of the p44/p42 extracellular signal-regulated (ERK) mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAP). The MIF-induced activation of these kinases was sustained for a period of at least 24 h and was dependent upon protein kinase A activity. We further show that MIF regulates cytosolic phospholipase A2 activity via a protein kinase A and ERK dependent pathway and that the glucocorticoid suppression of cytokine-induced cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 activity and arachidonic acid release can be reversed by the addition of recombinant MIF. These studies indicate that the sustained activation of p44/p42 MAP kinase and subsequent arachidonate release by cytoplasmic phospholipase A2 are important features of the immunoregulatory and intracellular signaling events initiated by MIF and provide the first insight into the mechanisms that underlie the pro-proliferative and inflammatory properties of this mediator.

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