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J Dermatol Sci. 2005 Feb;37(2):65-73.

Role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in the skin.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) functions as a pleiotropic protein, participating in both inflammation and immune responses. MIF was originally discovered as a lymphokine involved in delayed type hypersensitivity and various macrophage functions, including phagocytosis, and tumor surveillance. Recently, MIF has been re-evaluated as a pro-inflammatory cytokine and identified as a pituitary-derived hormone, potentiating endotoxemia. MIF is ubiquitously expressed in various tissues, including the skin. Clinical evidence of increased MIF expression in inflammatory diseases supports this potential role of MIF in inflammation. In addition to its role in inflammation, MIF has been shown to exhibit growth-promoting activity, with anti-MIF antibodies effectively suppressing tumor growth and tumor-associated angiogenesis. This review presents the latest findings on the roles of MIF in the skin with regard to inflammation, the immune response, skin disease, tumorigenesis and cutaneous wound healing, and discusses its potential functions in various pathophysiological states.

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