Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the most common cause of physical injury to the skin due to environmental damage, and UV exposure substantially increases the risk of actinic damage to the skin. The inflammatory changes induced by acute UV exposure include erythema (sunburn) of the skin, while chronic exposure to solar UV radiation causes photo-aging, immunosuppression, and ultimately, carcinogenesis of the skin. After skin damage by UV radiation, the cells are known to secrete many cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF). MIF was originally identified as a lymphokine that concentrates macrophages at inflammatory loci, and is known to be a potent activator of macrophages in vivo
. MIF is considered to play an important role in cell-mediated immunity. Since the molecular cloning of MIF cDNA, MIF has been re-evaluated as a proinflammatory cytokine and pituitary-derived hormone that potentiates endotoxemia. MIF is ubiquitously expressed in various tissues, including the skin. Recent studies have suggested a potentially broader role for MIF in growth regulation because of its ability to antagonize p53-mediated gene activation and apoptosis. This article reviews the latest findings on the roles of MIF with regard to UV-induced skin cancer.