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Circ Res. 2003 Aug 22;93(4):321-9. Epub 2003 Jul 24.

Migration inhibitory factor mediates angiogenesis via mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol kinase.

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Department of Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill, USA.


In this study, we investigated the effects of migration inhibitory factor (rhMIF) on angiogenesis-related signaling cascades and apoptosis in human endothelial cells (ECs). We show that in vitro rhMIF induces migration and tube formation in Matrigel of human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs), with potency comparable to that of basic fibroblast growth factor. In vivo, rhMIF induces angiogenesis in Matrigel plugs and in the corneal bioassay. Using panels of relatively specific kinase inhibitors, antisense oligonucleotides, and dominant-negative mutants, we show that mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) are critical for MIF-dependent HMVEC migration, whereas Src and p38 kinases are nonessential. Moreover, we demonstrate that rhMIF induces time-dependent increases in phosphorylation levels of MEK1/2, Erk1/2, and Elk-1, as well as PI3K, and its effector kinase, Akt, in HMVECs. Studies with dominant-negative mutants and antisense oligonucleotides corroborate these effects in HMVECs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that rhMIF-induced angiogenesis in the rat cornea in vivo and in the ex vivo endothelial cell morphogenesis assay is also MAPK- and PI3K-dependent. Our findings support a role for MIF as an angiogenic factor and provide a rationale for the use of MIF as a therapeutic inducer of neovascularization in the development of collateral circulation in coronary artery disease.

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