Regulation of the immune response by macrophage migration inhibitory factor: biological and structural features
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The classical T cell cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has reemerged recently as a critical mediator of the host immune and stress response. MIF has been found to be a mediator of several diseases including gram-negative septic shock and delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions. Its immunological functions include the modulation of the host macrophage and T and B cell response. In contrast to other known cytokines, MIF production is induced rather than suppressed by glucocorticoids, and MIF has been found to override the immunosuppressive effects of glucocorticoids. Recently, elucidation of the three-dimensional structure of MIF revealed that MIF has a novel, unique cytokine structure. Here the biological role of MIF is reviewed in view of its distinct immunological and structural properties.
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