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. 2007;9(2):R43.
doi: 10.1186/ar2182.

Increased Serum Levels of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in Patients With Primary Sjögren's Syndrome

Free PMC article

Increased Serum Levels of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in Patients With Primary Sjögren's Syndrome

Peter Willeke et al. Arthritis Res Ther. .
Free PMC article


The objective of this study was to analyse levels of the proinflammatory cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) and to examine associations of MIF with clinical, serological and immunological variables. MIF was determined by ELISA in the sera of 76 patients with pSS. Further relevant cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-10, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) secreted by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were determined by ELISPOT assay. Lymphocytes and monocytes were examined flow-cytometrically for the expression of activation markers. Results were correlated with clinical and laboratory findings as well as with the HLA-DR genotype. Healthy age- and sex-matched volunteers served as controls. We found that MIF was increased in patients with pSS compared with healthy controls (p < 0.01). In particular, increased levels of MIF were associated with hypergammaglobulinemia. Further, we found a negative correlation of MIF levels with the number of IL-10-secreting PBMC in pSS patients (r = -0.389, p < 0.01). Our data indicate that MIF might participate in the pathogenesis of primary Sjögren's syndrome. MIF may contribute to B-cell hyperactivity indicated by hypergammaglobulinemia. The inverse relationship of IL-10 and MIF suggests that IL-10 works as an antagonist of MIF in pSS.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Serum levels of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). Data of the box plots are shown as medians and 25th and 75th centiles for healthy controls (HC) as well as for primary patients with Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) with normal γ-globulins and with hypergammaglobulinemia.
Figure 2
Figure 2
IL-10-secreting peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) in patients with primary Sjögren's syndrome and healthy controls (HC). Data of Sjögren's syndrome patients were divided into a low-MIF group (0 to 33%), an intermediate-MIF group (more than 33 to 66%) and a high-MIF group (more than 66%). The number of IL-10-secreting PBMC in the low-MIF group was significantly increased compared with the high-MIF group or healthy controls.

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