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      Macrophage migration inhibitory factor facilitates prostaglandin E 2 production of astrocytes to tune inflammatory milieu following spinal cord injury

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          Astrocytes have been shown to produce several pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines to maintain homeostasis of microenvironment in response to vast array of CNS insults. Some inflammation-related cytokines are responsible for regulating such cell events. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a proinflammatory cytokine that can be inducibly expressed in the lesioned spinal cord. Unknown is whether MIF can facilitate the production of immunosuppressive factors from astrocytes to tune milieu following spinal cord injury.


          Following establishment of contusion SCI rat model, correlation of PGE 2 synthesis-related protein levels with that of MIF was assayed by Western blot. ELISA assay was used to detect production of PGE 2, TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6. Immunohistochemistry was performed to observe colocalization of COX2 with GFAP- and S100β-positive astrocytes. The primary astrocytes were treated by various inhibitors to validate relevant signal pathway.


          The protein levels of MIF and COX2, but not of COX1, synchronously increased following spinal cord injury. Treatment of MIF inhibitor 4-IPP to the lesion sites significantly reduced the expression of COX2, mPGES-1, and as a consequence, the production of PGE 2. Astrocytes responded robustly to the MIF interference, by which regulated MAPK/COX2/PGE 2 signal pathway through coupling with the CD74 membrane receptor. MIF-induced production of PGE 2 from astrocytes was able to suppress production of TNF-α, but boosted production of IL-1β and IL-6 in LPS-activated macrophages.


          Collectively, these results reveal a novel function of MIF-mediated astrocytes, which fine-tune inflammatory microenvironment to maintain homeostasis. These suggest an alternative therapeutic strategy for CNS inflammation.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12974-019-1468-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 54

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          Points of control in inflammation.

           Carl Nathan (2015)
          Inflammation is a complex set of interactions among soluble factors and cells that can arise in any tissue in response to traumatic, infectious, post-ischaemic, toxic or autoimmune injury. The process normally leads to recovery from infection and to healing, However, if targeted destruction and assisted repair are not properly phased, inflammation can lead to persistent tissue damage by leukocytes, lymphocytes or collagen. Inflammation may be considered in terms of its checkpoints, where binary or higher-order signals drive each commitment to escalate, go signals trigger stop signals, and molecules responsible for mediating the inflammatory response also suppress it, depending on timing and context. The non-inflammatory state does not arise passively from an absence of inflammatory stimuli; rather, maintenance of health requires the positive actions of specific gene products to suppress reactions to potentially inflammatory stimuli that do not warrant a full response.
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            Macrophage migration inhibitory factor: a regulator of innate immunity

            Key Points Cytokines are essential effector molecules of innate immunity that initiate and coordinate the cellular and humoral responses aimed, for example, at the eradication of microbial pathogens. Discovered in the late 1960s as a product of activated T cells, the cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has been discovered recently to carry out important functions as a mediator of the innate immune system. Constitutively expressed by a broad spectrum of cells and tissues, including monocytes and macrophages, MIF is rapidly released after exposure to microbial products and pro-inflammatory mediators, and in response to stress. After it is released, MIF induces pro-inflammatory biological responses that act as a regulator of immune responses. MIF activates the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (ERK1)/ERK2–mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, inhibits the activity of JUN activation domain-binding protein 1 (JAB1) — a co-activator of the activator protein 1 (AP1) — upregulates the expression of Toll-like receptor 4 to promote the recognition of endotoxin-expressing bacterial pathogens, sustains pro-inflammatory function by inhibiting p53-dependent apoptosis of macrophages and counter-regulates the immunosuppressive effects of glucocorticoids on immune cells. As a pro-inflammatory mediator, MIF has been shown to be implicated in the pathogenesis of severe sepsis and septic shock, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and several other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, glomerulonephritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. Given its crucial role as a regulator of innate and acquired immunity, pharmacological or immunological modulation of MIF activity might offer new treatment opportunities for the management of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.
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              Inhibition of astroglial nuclear factor κB reduces inflammation and improves functional recovery after spinal cord injury

              In the central nervous system (CNS), the transcription factor nuclear factor (NF)-κB is a key regulator of inflammation and secondary injury processes. After trauma or disease, the expression of NF-κB–dependent genes is highly activated, leading to both protective and detrimental effects on CNS recovery. We demonstrate that selective inactivation of astroglial NF-κB in transgenic mice expressing a dominant negative (dn) form of the inhibitor of κBα under the control of an astrocyte-specific promoter (glial fibrillary acidic protein [GFAP]–dn mice) leads to a dramatic improvement in functional recovery 8 wk after contusive spinal cord injury (SCI). Histologically, GFAP mice exhibit reduced lesion volume and substantially increased white matter preservation. In parallel, they show reduced expression of proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines, such as CXCL10, CCL2, and transforming growth factor–β2, and of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans participating in the formation of the glial scar. We conclude that selective inhibition of NF-κB signaling in astrocytes results in protective effects after SCI and propose the NF-κB pathway as a possible new target for the development of therapeutic strategies for the treatment of SCI.

                Author and article information

                0086-513-85051818 , wyjbs@ntu.edu.cn
                J Neuroinflammation
                J Neuroinflammation
                Journal of Neuroinflammation
                BioMed Central (London )
                13 April 2019
                13 April 2019
                : 16
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9530 8833, GRID grid.260483.b, Key Laboratory of Neuroregeneration of Jiangsu and Ministry of Education, Co-innovation Center of Neuroregeneration, , Nantong University, ; 19 Qixiu Road, Nantong, 226001 People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]GRID grid.440642.0, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, , Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, ; Nantong, 226001 People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]GRID grid.440183.a, Department of Pediatrics, , Yancheng City No.1 People’s Hospital, ; Yancheng, 224005 People’s Republic of China
                © The Author(s). 2019

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China;
                Award ID: 31830028;
                Award ID: 31871211; 31471011
                Award Recipient :
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                © The Author(s) 2019


                mif, cox2, spinal cord, astrocyte, inflammation, pge2


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