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Iguratimod, an allosteric inhibitor of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), prevents mortality and oxidative stress in a murine model of acetaminophen overdose.

Molecular Medicine 2024 March 28
BACKGROUND: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a pleiotropic cytokine that has been implicated in multiple inflammatory and non-inflammatory diseases, including liver injury induced by acetaminophen (APAP) overdose. Multiple small molecule inhibitors of MIF have been described, including the clinically available anti-rheumatic drug T-614 (iguratimod); however, this drug's mode of inhibition has not been fully investigated.

METHODS: We conducted in vitro testing including kinetic analysis and protein crystallography to elucidate the interactions between MIF and T-614. We also performed in vivo experiments testing the efficacy of T-614 in a murine model of acetaminophen toxicity. We analyzed survival in lethal APAP overdose with and without T-614 and using two different dosing schedules of T-614. We also examined MIF and MIF inhibition effects on hepatic hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) as a surrogate of oxidative stress in non-lethal APAP overdose.

RESULTS: Kinetic analysis was consistent with a non-competitive type of inhibition and an inhibition constant (Ki ) value of 16 µM. Crystallographic analysis revealed that T-614 binds outside of the tautomerase active site of the MIF trimer, with only the mesyl group of the molecule entering the active site pocket. T-614 improved survival in lethal APAP overdose when given prophylactically, but this protection was not observed when the drug was administered late (6 h after APAP). T-614 also decreased hepatic hydrogen peroxide concentrations during non-lethal APAP overdose in a MIF-dependent fashion.

CONCLUSIONS: T-614 is an allosteric inhibitor of MIF that prevented death and decreased hepatic hydrogen peroxide concentrations when given prophylactically in a murine model of acetaminophen overdose. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanistic role of MIF in APAP toxicity.

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