Little is known about mechanisms that drive the development of progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), although inflammatory factors, such as macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), its homolog D-dopachrome tautomerase (D-DT), and their common receptor CD74 may contribute to disease worsening. Our findings demonstrate elevated MIF and D-DT levels in males with progressive disease compared with relapsing-remitting males (RRMS) and female MS subjects, with increased levels of CD74 in females vs. males with high MS disease severity. Furthermore, increased MIF and D-DT levels in males with progressive disease were significantly correlated with the presence of two high-expression promoter polymorphisms located in the MIF gene, a −794CATT5–8 microsatellite repeat and a −173 G/C SNP. Conversely, mice lacking MIF or D-DT developed less-severe signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a murine model of MS, thus implicating both homologs as copathogenic contributors. These findings indicate that genetically controlled high MIF expression (and D-DT) promotes MS progression in males, suggesting that these two factors are sex-specific disease modifiers and raising the possibility that aggressive anti-MIF treatment of clinically isolated syndrome or RRMS males with a high-expresser genotype might slow or prevent the onset of progressive MS. Additionally, selective targeting of MIF:CD74 signaling might provide an effective, trackable therapeutic approach for MS subjects of both sexes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Oct 3 2017|
- Disease modifier
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sex differences
ASJC Scopus subject areas