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A MIF haplotype is associated with the outcome of patients with severe sepsis: a case control study

Lutz E Lehmann1, Malte Book1*, Wolfgang Hartmann2, Stefan U Weber3, Jens-Christian Schewe3, Sven Klaschik3, Andreas Hoeft3 and Frank Stüber1

Author Affiliations

1 University Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy, Inselspital, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland

2 Department of Pathology, Bonn University, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, D-53105 Bonn, Germany

3 Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Operative Intensive Care, Bonn University, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, D-53105 Bonn, Germany

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2009, 7:100  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-7-100

Published: 26 November 2009



Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) plays an important regulatory role in sepsis. In the promoter region a C/G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) at position -173 (rs755622) and a CATT5-8 microsatellite at position -794 are related to modified promoter activity. The purpose of the study was to analyze their association with the incidence and outcome of severe sepsis.


Genotype distributions and allele frequencies in 169 patients with severe sepsis, 94 healthy blood donors and 183 postoperative patients without signs of infection or inflammation were analyzed by real time PCR and Sequence analysis. All included individuals were Caucasians.


Genotype distribution and allele frequencies of severe sepsis patients were comparable to both control groups. However, the genotype and allele frequencies of both polymorphisms were associated significantly with the outcome of severe sepsis. The highest risk of dying from severe sepsis was detectable in patients carrying a haplotype with the alleles -173 C and CATT7 (p = 0.0005, fisher exact test, RR = 1,806, CI: 1.337 to 2.439).


The haplotype with the combination of the -173 C allele and the -794 CATT7 allele may not serve as a marker for susceptibility to sepsis, but may help identify septic patients at risk of dying.