Expression of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in different stages of human atherosclerosis
Background- Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory response of the arterial wall to injury. Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), a cytokine with potent inflammatory functions, was thus considered to be important in atherosclerotic lesion evolution. Methods and Results- We studied the presence and distribution of MIF immunoreactivity (MIF-IR) and MIF mRNA in internal mammary arteries with a normal histology and arteries with plaques in different stages of human atherosclerosis. To address a potential role for the coactivator Jab1 as a cellular mediator of MIF effects in vascular tissue, we correlated the expression of MIF to that of Jab1 by using immunohistochemistry and coimmunoprecipitation. We further sought to determine a potential functional role for endothelium-derived MIF in early atherogenesis by studying the effects of oxidized LDL on MIF expression in cultured human umbilical vascular endothelial cells. The results showed that MIF-IR and Jab1-IR are found in all cell types present in atherosclerotic lesions, that MIF-IR is upregulated during progression of atherosclerosis, that MIF is produced locally in the arterial wall, and that all MIF+ cells are simultaneously Jab1+. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated in vivo complex formation between MIF and Jab1 in plaques. MIF expression in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells and a macrophage line was upregulated after stimulation with oxidized LDL. Conclusions- MIF is produced abundantly by various cells in all types of human atherosclerotic lesions and thus may play an important role in early plaque development and advanced complicated lesions. MIF-Jab1 complexes could serve critical regulatory functions in atherosclerotic lesion evolution.