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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 582586, 8 pages
Research Article

Modulation of Circulating Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor in the Elderly

Division of Cardiology, Pulmonology and Vascular Medicine, Medical Faculty, University Hospital Düsseldorf, Moorenstraß 5, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany

Received 11 June 2014; Accepted 20 June 2014; Published 8 July 2014

Academic Editor: Elísio Costa

Copyright © 2014 Christos Rammos et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aging increases the risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Chronic low-grade inflammation deteriorates vascular function, increases age-related vascular stiffness, and affects hemodynamics. The proinflammatory cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a major mediator of atherosclerosis. Plasma MIF levels are associated with arterial stiffness, a hallmark of vascular aging. Preclinical studies show that blockade of MIF leads to atherosclerotic plaque regression. Nutritional approaches provide opportunities to counteract age-related inflammation. Following a chronic dietary supplementation with the micronutrient nitrate has been demonstrated to improve vascular stiffness. Whether dietary nitrate affects circulating MIF levels is not known. In a randomized placebo-controlled, double-blinded study, elderly subjects received a dietary nitrate supplementation for 4 weeks. Dietary nitrate led to a decrease in plasma MIF levels in the elderly and to an improvement in vascular functions. This was associated with a reduction in central systolic blood pressure. Our data show that supplementation with dietary nitrate is associated with a reduction of circulating MIF levels along with an improvement in vascular function. This supports the concept of dietary approaches to modulate age-related changes of vascular functions.