Sepsis remains a significant clinical challenge. Ferroptosis is involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis. Ferroptosis is associated with oxidative stress, and excessive oxidative stress is suppressed by milk fat globule epidermal growth factor 8 (MFG-E8) under various conditions. However, the role of MFG-E8 in sepsis-induced ferroptosis and oxidative stress is still unclear. First, we collected blood samples from patients with sepsis and detected the expression of serum MFG-E8. Then, the relationship between serum concentrations of MFG-E8 and disease severity was detected. Finally, the effects of MFG-E8 treatment on ferroptosis and oxidative stress in the livers of septic mice were determined. The expression of serum MFG-E8 in healthy subjects was notably higher than that in septic patients. In addition, when nonsurvivors and survivors of sepsis were compared, MFG-E8 levels were considerably lower in the former. The ROC curve for MFG-E8 was also generated. The area under the curve for MFG-E8 was 0.768 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.627-0.909, p = 0.003). The patients were separated into two groups based on the MFG-E8 cut-off value of 3.86 ng/mL. According to the Kaplan‒Meier survival analysis, patients with low MFG-E8 levels had a significantly decreased 28-day survival rate compared with patients with high MFG-E8 levels. High MFG-E8 levels were substantially related to a decreased risk of death, as demonstrated by the Cox proportional hazard model that we utilized. In addition, compared with sham mice, septic mice exhibited liver and kidney damage, and MFG-E8 may have protective effects. The survival study indicated that MFG-E8 could effectively improve the survival rate of septic mice. Treatment with MFG-E8 suppresses oxidative stress and ferroptosis in the livers of septic mice. Serum MFG-E8 levels are lower in septic patients and are negatively related to disease severity. Treatment with MFG-E8 suppresses oxidative stress and ferroptosis in the livers of septic mice, contributing to significantly improved survival in septic mice. These findings showed that MFG-E8 could be a new sepsis predictive biomarker. MFG-E8 may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of sepsis.© 2022. The Author(s).
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