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Arthritis Rheum. 2004 Sep;50(9):3023-34.

Reduced leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions in the inflamed microcirculation of macrophage migration inhibitory factor-deficient mice.

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  • 1Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Monash University, Victoria, Australia.



Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a proinflammatory cytokine with established roles in a range of inflammatory conditions. However, it is not known whether MIF influences inflammation via the direct promotion of leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions. Therefore, the aim of these experiments was to investigate the ability of MIF to regulate leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions in the inflamed microvasculature.


Intravital microscopy was used to examine postcapillary venules in the cremaster muscle and synovium of wild-type and MIF(-/-) mice. Leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions (rolling, adhesion, emigration) were compared under a range of inflammatory conditions.


In cremasteric postcapillary venules of MIF(-/-) mice, lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced leukocyte rolling, adhesion, and emigration were significantly reduced relative to that in wild-type mice. Similar responses were observed in response to tumor necrosis factor alpha and histamine. Examination of the synovial microvasculature following exposure to carrageenan revealed that leukocyte rolling and adhesion in synovial postcapillary venules and leukocyte entry into the joint space were also reduced significantly in MIF(-/-) mice. In each of these models, the level of P-selectin-dependent rolling was reduced in MIF(-/-) mice. Despite this, no difference in P-selectin expression was observed following LPS treatment. However, microvascular shear forces were elevated in MIF(-/-) mice, raising a possible mechanism to explain the reduced interactions in these animals.


MIF(-/-) mice consistently displayed a reduction in P-selectin-dependent rolling, suggesting that MIF exerts proinflammatory effects, in part, via the promotion of P-selectin-mediated rolling. Together, these data indicate that MIF promotes interactions between leukocytes and endothelial cells, thereby enhancing the entry of leukocytes into sites of inflammation.

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