The β-galactoside-binding animal lectin galectin-3 is predominantly expressed by activated macrophages and is a promising biomarker for patients with heart failure. Galectin-3 regulates inflammatory and fibrotic responses; however, its role in cardiac remodeling remains unclear. We hypothesized that galectin-3 may be up-regulated in the pressure-overloaded myocardium and regulate hypertrophy and fibrosis. In normal mouse myocardium, galectin-3 was constitutively expressed in macrophages and was localized in atrial but not ventricular cardiomyocytes. In a mouse model of transverse aortic constriction, galectin-3 expression was markedly up-regulated in the pressure-overloaded myocardium. Early up-regulation of galectin-3 was localized in subpopulations of macrophages and myofibroblasts; however, after 7 to 28 days of transverse aortic constriction, a subset of cardiomyocytes in fibrotic areas contained large amounts of galectin-3. In vitro, cytokine stimulation suppressed galectin-3 synthesis by macrophages and cardiac fibroblasts. Correlation studies revealed that cardiomyocyte- but not macrophage-specific galectin-3 localization was associated with adverse remodeling and dysfunction. Galectin-3 knockout mice exhibited accelerated cardiac hypertrophy after 7 days of pressure overload, whereas female galectin-3 knockouts had delayed dilation after 28 days of transverse aortic constriction. However, galectin-3 loss did not affect survival, systolic and diastolic dysfunction, cardiac fibrosis, and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in the pressure-overloaded heart. Despite its potential role as a prognostic biomarker, galectin-3 is not a critical modulator of cardiac fibrosis but may delay the hypertrophic response.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine