The role of macrophage migration inhibitory factor in mast cell-stimulated fibroblast proliferation and collagen production

Gu Ningyan, Yao Xu, Shi Hongfei, Chen Jingjing, Chen Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Current clinical and translational studies have shown that mast cell plays a pivotal role in multiple fibrotic diseases including scleroderma. However, the lack of mature human mast cell culture model exhibits a major obstacle for further dissection of cytokines and signaling molecules required for mast cell mediated fibrosis in various diseases. Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor is a mast cell released pro-inflammatory cytokine which is deregulated in scleroderma patients and is also involved in non-scleroderma related fibrosis. In the current study, we successfully generated a practical and reliable human mast cell culture system with bone marrow CD34+ hematopietic precursors. The derivative mast cell is normal in terms of both morphology and function as manifested by normal degranulation. More importantly, we were able to show mast cell conditioned medium as well as MIF supplementation augments fibroblast proliferation and collagen synthesis. This positive regulatory effect of mast cell conditioned medium can be dampened by MIF antibody. In addition, MIF-knockdown significantly inhibits pro-fibrotic activities of CD34+ hematopietic precursor derived mast cells. These data strongly suggest that mast cell released MIF is required for mast cell mediated fibrogenic activities. The current manuscript seems to be the first mechanistic report showing the significance of MIF in mast cell mediated fibrosis, which may pave the way for the development of potential MIF-targeted therapy for fibrotic diseases to a further extent. Moreover, we strongly believe mast cell culture and differentiation model as well as corresponding genetic manipulation methodology will be helpful in characterizing novel mast cell based therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0122482
JournalPLoS One
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 31 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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