MIF inhibition enhances axon regeneration after spinal cord injury
Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine that regulates a portion of the immune response and that has been implicated in the inhibition of neuronal recovery following spinal cord injury. My hypothesis is that MIF inhibits neuronal recovery by increasing the inflammatory response as well as the buildup of scar tissue. To test this hypothesis, MIF was inhibited in the lamprey after spinal cord transection via administration of the drug ISO-1, a small protein that inhibits the enzymatic activity of MIF. The behavioral recovery was then measured over thirteen week period by scoring swimming patterns. Axonal regeneration was measured through retrograde labeling of the somata of giant reticulospinal axons. Results indicate that MIF inhibition led to a 60.6% increase in axon regeneration, as well as more complete behavioral recovery. These results suggest the possibility of the MIF inhibition being a viable treatment for neural recovery following spinal cord injury.