Myocardial Galectin-3 Expression Is Associated with Remodeling of the Pressure-Overloaded Heart and May Delay the Hypertrophic Response without Affecting Survival, Dysfunction, and Cardiac Fibrosis

Olga Frunza, Ilaria Russo, Amit Saxena, Arti V. Shinde, Claudio Humeres, Waqas Hanif, Vikrant Rai, Ya Su, Nikolaos G. Frangogiannis

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30 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1114-1127
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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