Objective: Recent studies have established an essential role for macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in T cell and macrophage activation, both of which are characteristics of rat adjuvant arthritis. This study investigated the role of MIF in early adjuvant arthritis.
Methods: MIF was detected in rat synovium by immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using specific monoclonal antibodies (MAb). Anti-MIF MAb treatment was administered, and the effects on clinical aspects of adjuvant arthritis were assessed.
Results: MIF was absent from normal rat synovium prior to adjuvant injection, but was detectable on day 4 after injection (6 days before the onset of clinical disease) and was colocalized with ED-1+ macrophages throughout the evolution of the disease. Levels of MIF were increased in established adjuvant arthritis sera, and adjuvant arthritis synovial macrophages released MIF at a mean +/- SEM concentration of 607.9 +/- 201.5 pg/ml. Anti-MIF treatment led to profound, dose-dependent inhibition of the adjuvant arthritis clinical score, paw swelling, and synovial lavage leukocyte numbers (P < 0.001), and also resulted in reduced synovial macrophage and T cell accumulation.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate an important role for MIF in the evolution of rat adjuvant arthritis.