Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 311, Issue 8, pp 589–594 | Cite as

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor polymorphism (rs755622) in alopecia areata: a possible role in disease prevention

  • Fateme Rajabi
  • Mahsa M. Amoli
  • Reza M. RobatiEmail author
  • Mina Almasi-nasrabadi
  • Navid Jabalameli
Original Paper


Alopecia areata (AA) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease that targets the bulb of the hair follicles and results in non-scarring hair loss that can range from patchy lesions to involvement of the entire scalp. AA develops when the hair follicles lose their physiologic state of immune privilege. One of the key factors that help in maintaining this immune privilege by suppressing natural killer cells is macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Surprisingly, MIF is also known to provoke autoimmunity by upregulating cytokines. To address this dilemma and understand the exact nature of the involvement of MIF in disease pathogenesis we investigated the association of MIF gene polymorphisms (− 173 G > C, rs755622) with AA by conducting a case–control study of 274 subjects. We observed that the frequency of the C allele in the patients was significantly lower than the control group (0.15, 0.23, respectively, p = 0.01) and the combined frequencies of the CC and GC genotypes (dominant Mendelian pattern) had the most prevalent difference between the two groups (odds ratio 0.60, 95% confidence interval 0.36–0.99; p = 0.048).Since the C allele is associated with higher MIF transcription levels, this could infer that MIF is more likely to attribute to the preservation of the immune privilege rather than acting as a proinflammatory factor.


Immune privilege Autoimmunity Natural killer cells Genetic association study Hair follicle 



We wish to present our special thanks to Dr Azin Ayatollahi for her contributions that greatly assisted the research.

Author contributions

FR, MMA, MA, and NJ performed the research. RMR, MMA designed the research study. FR, MA, and NJ analyzed the data. FR, MMA and RMR wrote the paper. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


This research did not receive any specific Grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Ethical approval (research involving human participants and/or animals)

The study was approved by the Ethics commitee of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

Informed consent

A written informed consent was obtained from all participants according to the declaration of Helsinki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fateme Rajabi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mahsa M. Amoli
    • 2
  • Reza M. Robati
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mina Almasi-nasrabadi
    • 1
  • Navid Jabalameli
    • 3
  1. 1.Skin Research CenterShahid Beheshti University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Metabolic Disorders Research Center, Endocrinology and Metabolism Molecular-Cellular Sciences InstituteTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Network of Dermatology Research (NDR)Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN)TehranIran

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