The immunobiology of MIF: function, genetics and prospects for precision medicine

Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2019 Jul;15(7):427-437. doi: 10.1038/s41584-019-0238-2. Epub 2019 Jun 13.


The role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in autoimmunity is underscored by data showing that common functional polymorphisms in MIF are associated with disease susceptibility or clinical severity. MIF can regulate glucocorticoid-mediated immunosuppression and has a prominent function in cell survival signalling. Further specific functions of MIF are now being defined in different autoimmune diseases and MIF-targeted biologic therapeutics are in early-stage clinical trials. The unique structure of MIF is also directing the development of small-molecule MIF antagonists. Together, these efforts could provide a means of selectively intervening in pathogenesis and overcoming MIF-related genetic susceptibility to many rheumatic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Disease Management*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / biosynthesis
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / biosynthesis
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Precision Medicine / methods*


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