The role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in maintaining the immune privilege at the fetal–maternal interface

  • Paola Viganò
  • Marcella Cintorino
  • Frederick Schatz
  • Charles J. Lockwood
  • Felice Arcuri


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a pivotal regulator of the innate and adaptive immunity affecting the response and behavior of macrophages and lymphocytes. MIF is also implicated in other fundamental cellular processes including angiogenesis and cell proliferation. Several studies examined the expression of MIF in reproductive organs and tissues and its involvement in different aspects of human and animal reproduction. The goal of this review was to summarize these findings and discuss, in particular, the role of MIF in the maintenance of the immune privilege at the human fetal–maternal interface.


MIF Pregnancy Immunosuppression Uterine NK cells Decidual macrophages 



Studies in the authors’ laboratories were supported by grants from the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, the University of Siena, and by the National Institutes of Health 2 R01HD 33937-05 and 1 R01 HL070004-03. The authors would like to thank Dr. Paolo Toti, Lynn Buchwalder,and Antonietta Carducci for their invaluable help.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Viganò
    • 1
  • Marcella Cintorino
    • 2
  • Frederick Schatz
    • 3
  • Charles J. Lockwood
    • 3
  • Felice Arcuri
    • 2
  1. 1.II Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Milan and Istituto Auxologico ItalianoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human Pathology and Oncology, Section of PathologyUniversity of Siena—School of MedicineSienaItaly
  3. 3.Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive SciencesYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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