The Role of MIF on Eosinophil Biology and Eosinophilic Inflammation

  • Marcelo T. BozzaEmail author
  • Leticia Lintomen
  • Jamil Z. Kitoko
  • Cláudia N. Paiva
  • Priscilla C. Olsen


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is an inflammatory cytokine that participates in innate and adaptive immune responses. MIF contributes to the resistance against infection agents, but also to the cellular and tissue damage in infectious, autoimmune, and allergic diseases. In the past years, several studies demonstrated a critical role for MIF in the pathogenesis of type-2-mediated inflammation, including allergy and helminth infection. Atopic patients have increased MIF amounts in affected tissues, mainly produced by immune cells such as macrophages, Th2 cells, and eosinophils. Increased MIF mRNA and protein are found in activated Th2 cells, while eosinophils stock pre-formed MIF protein and secrete high amounts of MIF upon stimulation. In mouse models of allergic asthma, the lack of MIF causes an almost complete abrogation of the cardinal signs of the disease including mucus secretion, eosinophilic inflammation, and airway hyper-responsiveness. Additionally, blocking the expression of MIF in animal models leads to significant reduction of pathological signs of eosinophilic inflammation such as rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, eosinophilic esophagitis and helminth infection. A number of studies indicate that MIF is important in the effector phase of type-2 immune responses, while its contribution to Th2 differentiation and IgE production is not consensual. MIF has been found to intervene in different aspects of eosinophil physiology including differentiation, survival, activation, and migration. CD4+ T cells and eosinophils express CD74 and CXCR4, receptors able to signal upon MIF binding. Blockage of these receptors with neutralizing antibodies or small molecule antagonists also succeeds in reducing the signals of inflammation in experimental allergic models. Together, these studies demonstrate an important contribution of MIF on eosinophil biology and in the pathogenesis of allergic diseases and helminth infection.


MIF Eosinophil Inflammation Helminth Allergy 



This work was supported by grants from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001 to MT Bozza.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

This work is in accordance with the ethical standards of the COPE guidelines.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Inflamação e Imunidade, Departamento de Imunologia, Instituto de MicrobiologiaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Bacteriologia e Imunologia Clínica, Departamento de Análises Clínicas e Toxicológicas, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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