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OBJECTIVE: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a 26-kDa lectin known to regulate many aspects of inflammatory cell behavior. We assessed the hypothesis that increased levels of Gal-3 contribute to atherosclerotic plaque progression by enhancing monocyte chemoattraction through macrophage activation. METHODS AND RESULTS: Gal-3 was found to be upregulated in unstable plaque regions of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) specimens compared with stable regions from the same patient (3.2-fold, P<0.05) at the mRNA (n=12) and (2.3-fold, P<0.01) at the protein level (n=9). Analysis of aortic tissue from ApoE-/- mice on a high fat diet (n=14) and wild-type controls (n=9) showed that Gal-3 mRNA and protein levels are elevated by 16.3-fold (P<0.001) and 12.2-fold (P<0.01) and that Gal-3 staining colocalizes with macrophages. In vitro, conditioned media from Gal-3-treated human macrophages induced an up to 6-fold increase in human monocyte chemotaxis (P<0.01, ANOVA), an effect that was reduced by 66 and 60% by Pertussis Toxin (PTX) and the Vaccinia virus protein 35K, respectively. Microarray analysis of human macrophages and subsequent qPCR validation confirmed the upregulation of CC chemokines in response to Gal-3 treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that Gal-3 is both a marker of atherosclerotic plaque progression and a central contributor to the pathology by amplification of key proinflammatory molecules.

Original publication

DOI

10.1161/ATVBAHA.107.159160

Type

Journal article

Journal

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol

Publication Date

03/2008

Volume

28

Pages

433 - 440

Keywords

Animals, Biomarkers, Blotting, Western, Carotid Arteries, Carotid Stenosis, Cells, Cultured, Chemotaxis, Disease Models, Animal, Disease Progression, Galectin 3, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Inflammation, Macrophage Activation, Macrophages, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Monocytes, RNA, Random Allocation, Sensitivity and Specificity, Up-Regulation