The macrophage migration inhibitory factor protein superfamily in obesity and wound repair

Exp Mol Med. 2015 May 1;47(5):e161. doi: 10.1038/emm.2015.26.


The rising number of obese individuals has become a major burden to the healthcare systems worldwide. Obesity includes not only the increase of adipose tissue mass but importantly also the altered cellular functions that collectively lead to a chronic state of adipose tissue inflammation, insulin resistance and impaired wound healing. Adipose tissue undergoing chronic inflammation shows altered cytokine expression and an accumulation of adipose tissue macrophages (ATM). The macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) superfamily consists of MIF and the recently identified homolog D-dopachrome tautomerase (D-DT or MIF-2). MIF and D-DT, which both bind to the CD74/CD44 receptor complex, are differentially expressed in adipose tissue and have distinct roles in adipogenesis. MIF positively correlates with obesity as well as insulin resistance and contributes to adipose tissue inflammation by modulating ATM functions. D-DT, however, is negatively correlated with obesity and reverses glucose intolerance. In this review, their respective roles in adipose tissue homeostasis, adipose tissue inflammation, insulin resistance and impaired wound healing will be reviewed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology*
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / analysis
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / immunology*
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / analysis
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / immunology*
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Obesity / immunology*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Wound Healing*


  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • MIF protein, human
  • dopachrome isomerase