Elevated serum MFG-E8 level is possibly associated with the presence of high-intensity cerebral lesions on magnetic resonance imaging in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus

J Dermatol. 2017 Jul;44(7):783-788. doi: 10.1111/1346-8138.13791. Epub 2017 Mar 7.


Human milk fat globule-EGF factor 8 (MFG-E8), also known as lactadherin, is a secreted glycoprotein that plays essential roles in the clearance of apoptotic cells and angiogenesis. It has been reported that serum MFG-E8 levels are higher in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients compared with in healthy controls; however, a previous study reported no correlation between serum MFG-E8 levels and SLE disease activity. The objective of this study was to assess serum MFG-E8 levels and their clinical associations in patients with SLE. Serum MFG-E8 levels in 49 Japanese patients with SLE, eight with cutaneous LE, and 28 healthy controls were examined. Serum MFG-E8 levels in SLE patients were significantly higher than those in cutaneous LE patients and healthy individuals. In addition, serum MFG-E8 levels were positively correlated with the SLE Disease Activity Index score, which reflects the disease activity of SLE. Notably, the frequency of the presence of high-intensity cerebral lesions on MRI in the SLE patients with elevated serum MFG-E8 levels was significantly higher than that in SLE patients with normal serum MFG-E8 levels. These findings suggest that elevated serum MFG-E8 levels may be associated with cerebrovascular diseases or neuropsychiatric SLE in patients with SLE, and that the measurement of serum MFG-E8 levels in SLE patients is useful for risk stratification of cerebrovascular disease or cerebrovascular disease-related neuropsychiatric SLE.

Keywords: MFG-E8; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index; cerebrovascular disease; neuropsychiatric systemic lupus erythematosus; systemic lupus erythematosus.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Surface / blood*
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / blood*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / diagnostic imaging
  • Lupus Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / blood*
  • Lupus Vasculitis, Central Nervous System / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk Proteins / blood*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Serologic Tests


  • Antigens, Surface
  • MFGE8 protein, human
  • Milk Proteins