Indexed on: 05 Mar '10Published on: 05 Mar '10Published in: Molecular medicine (Cambridge, Mass.)
Previous studies have shown that amyloid beta protein (Abeta ), the essential molecule for the formation of toxic oligomers and, subsequently, Alzheimer plaques, has been associated in vivo with the immune modulator, macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) (17). To further investigate this association in vivo we used the APP transgenic mouse model. Serial brain sections of transgenic APP mice were stained for Abeta plaques and MIF and we observed MIF immunolabeling in microglial cells in association with Abeta plaques in the transgenic mouse brain sections. In addition, functional studies in murine and human neuronal cell lines revealed that Abeta-induced toxicity could be reversed significantly by a small molecule inhibitor of MIF (ISO-1). Finally, to elucidate the role of MIF in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) we measured MIF levels in the brain cytosol and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of AD patients and age-matched controls. Our results demonstrate a marked increase of MIF levels within the CSF of AD patients compared with controls. Combined, our results indicate a strong role for MIF in the pathogenesis of AD and furthermore suggest that inhibition of MIF may provide a valuable avenue of investigation for the prevention of disease onset, progression and/or severity.