Brief report: Enhanced DRα1-mMOG-35-55 treatment of severe EAE in MIF-1-deficient male mice

Arthur A. Vandenbark, Roberto Meza-Romero, Jack Wiedrick, Grant Gerstner, Ashley Headrick, Gail Kent, Hilary Seifert, Gil Benedek, Richard Bucala, Halina Offner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF-1) and its homologue D-dopachrome tautomerase (MIF-2) share the common CD74 receptor and function innately to enhance severity of multiple sclerosis (MS) as well as the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model for MS. We previously demonstrated that genetically high-MIF-expressing male subjects with relapsing MS had a significantly greater risk of conversion to progressive MS (PMS) than lower-MIF-expressing males. To expand on this observation, we utilized MIF-1, MIF-2, and MIF-1/2-DUAL-deficient male mice to discern if there would be a greater contribution of these inflammatory factors in EAE mice with severe vs. moderate clinical disease signs. As shown previously, mice deficient in either MIF-1 or MIF-2 each had a ∼25% reduction of moderate EAE compared to WT mice, with significant differences in disease onset and trajectory. However, EAE induction in mice deficient in both MIF-1 and MIF-2 genes did not result in a further reduction in EAE severity. This result suggests that the two MIF homologues were likely affecting the same pathogenic pathways such that each could partially compensate for the other but not in an additive or synergistic manner. However, MIF-1-KO, MIF-2-KO, and MIF-1/2-DUAL-KO mice with severe EAE did not exhibit a significant reduction in cumulative EAE scores compared with WT mice, but the MIF-1-KO and, to a lesser extent, MIF-1/2-DUAL-KO mice did show a significant reduction in daily EAE scores over the last 3 days of observation, and MIF-2-KO mice showed a more modest but still consistent reduction over the same span. Furthermore, deletion of MIF-1 resulted in a massive reduction in the expression of EAE- and Complete Freund's Adjuvant-associated inflammatory factors, suggesting delayed involvement of the MIF/CD74 axis in promoting disease expression. To further explore modulation of MIF-1 and MIF-2 effects on EAE, we treated WT mice with moderate EAE using DRα1-mMOG-35-55, an inhibitor of CD74 that blocks both MIF-1 and MIF-2 action. This treatment reduced ongoing moderate EAE severity in excess of 25%, suggesting efficient blockade of the MIF/CD74 axis in disease-enhancing pathways. Moreover, DRα1-mMOG-35-55 treatment of mice with severe EAE strongly reversed EAE- and CFA-associated expression of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines including Tnf, Ccr7, Ccr6, Ccl8, Cxcr3, and Ccl19 in MIF-deficient mouse genotypes, and also exceeded innate MIF-1 and MIF-2 EAE enhancing effects, especially in MIF-1-KO mice. These results illustrate the therapeutic potential of targeting the disease-enhancing MIF/CD74 pathway in male mice with moderate and severe EAE, with implications for treatment of high-MIF-expressing RRMS human males at risk of conversion to progressive MS as well as those that have already transitioned to PMS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104439
JournalCellular Immunology
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Central Nervous System (CNS)
  • Complete Freund's Adjuvant (CFA)
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF-1&2)
  • Macrophages/monocytes
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55
  • Pertussis toxin (PTx)
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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