What is MIF

The original definition of MIF as an activity mav not be as useful as it once was. Many factors are now recognized which can influence random migration in different cell types. The focus of most attention has now shifted to a protein which carries on the name MIF, even though this may not turn out to be completely appropriate. MIF does seem to be able to inhibit macrophage migration, but it also has several other, perhaps more important, roles in immunology and in other areas of biology. Does the apparent plei-otropy of MIF reflect distinct separate roles played by the same small protein or are these all aspects of a single, underlying function? Conceivably MIF has a single, central function, perhaps as an isomerase with a key role in cellular differentiation. Indeed, parallels with cyclophilin are suggested. Whether autocrine, purely intracellular or paracrine, MIF maybe part of a mechanism to initiate differentiated state responses in many cells. Depending on the cell type, different responses are elicited. In this way, one activity for MIF could be associated with a wide variety of phenotypes.

See also: Cell-mediated immunity; Cytokines; Delayed-type hypersensitivity; Eye, autoimmune disease; Glucocorticoids; Interferon y; Interleukin 4; Recruitment; Chemotaxis of macrophages and monocytes

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