Pro-inflammatory cytokine. Involved in the innate immune response to bacterial pathogens. The expression of MIF at sites of inflammation suggests a role as mediator in regulating the function of macrophages in host defense. Counteracts the anti-inflammatory activity of glucocorticoids. Has phenylpyruvate tautomerase and dopachrome tautomerase activity (in vitro), but the physiological substrate is not known. It is not clear whether the tautomerase activity has any physiological relevance, and whether it is important for cytokine activity.
Involvement in disease
Genetic variations in MIF are associated with susceptibility to rheumatoid arthritis systemic juvenile (RASJ) [MIM:604302]. An inflammatory articular disorder with systemic-onset beginning before the age of 16. It represents a subgroup of juvenile arthritis associated with severe extraarticular features and occasionally fatal complications. During active phases of the disorder, patients display a typical daily spiking fever, an evanescent macular rash, lymphadenopathy, hepatosplenomegaly, serositis, myalgia and arthritis.
Belongs to the MIF family.
Secreted. Cytoplasm. Does not have a cleavable signal sequence and is secreted via a specialized, non-classical pathway. Secreted by macrophages upon stimulation by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), or by M.tuberculosis antigens.