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Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Nov;266(1-2):17-24.

AGE-R3/galectin-3 expression in osteoblast-like cells: regulation by AGEs.

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  • 1Cátedra de Bioquímica Patológica, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina.


The accumulation of irreversible advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) on long-lived proteins, and the interaction of AGEs with cellular receptors such as AGE-R3/galectin-3 and RAGE, are considered to be key events in the development of long-term complications of diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer's disease, uremia and ageing. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and sub-cellular distribution of galectin-3, as well as its possible modulation by AGEs, in MC3T3E1 mouse calvaria-derived osteoblasts and in UMR 106 rat osteosarcoma cells. Both osteoblastic lines were cultured either with control bovine serum albumin (BSA) or with AGEs-BSA for 48 h. Cells were evaluated for galectin-3 expression by fixing and immunofluorescent microscopic analysis; or Western blot analysis of whole cell extracts, sub-cellular fractions and culture media. Both cell lines express 30 kDa (monomeric) galectin-3, although expression was about 15-fold lower in the UMR106 osteosarcoma cells. Dimeric (70 kDa) galectin-3 was additionally observed in the UMR106 cells. Immunofluorescent analysis of galectin-3 distribution showed a diffuse cytoplasmic and strong nuclear pattern in MC3T3E1 osteoblasts, and a patchy cytoplasmic pattern in UMR106 cells. Western blot analysis for both cell lines showed that galectin-3 was mainly found in the cytoplasm and in minor amounts in the microsomal fraction, while considerable amounts were secreted into the culture media. Exposure to 100-200 microg/mL AGEs-BSA increased the cellular content of 30 kDa galectin-3 (20-25% for MC3T3E1 and 35-70% for UMR106 versus control BSA, p < 0.05), and decreased the culture media levels of galectin-3 (10-20% for MC3T3E1 and for UMR106 versus control BSA, p < 0.05). These results confirm the expression of galectin-3 in osteoblastic cells, and suggest different levels and sub-cellular distribution of this protein in transformed versus non-transformed osteoblasts. Osteoblastic exposure to AGEs alters their expression and secretion of galectin-3, which could have significant consequences on osteoblast metabolism and thus on bone turnover.

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