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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 May;1783(5):924-34. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.01.025. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Galectin-3 but not galectin-1 induces mast cell death by oxidative stress and mitochondrial permeability transition.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Cell Immunology and Allergology, Nihon University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.


Galectin-1 and galectin-3 are the most ubiquitously expressed members of the galectin family and more importantly, these two molecules are shown to have opposite effects on pro-inflammatory responses and/or apoptosis depending on the cell type. Herein, we demonstrate for the first time that galectin-3 induces mast cell apoptosis. Mast cells expressed substantial levels of galectin-3 and galectin-1 and to a lesser extent the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) on their surfaces. Treatment of cells with galectin-3 at concentrations of > or =100 nM for 18-44 h resulted in cell death by apoptosis. Galectin-3-induced apoptosis was completely prevented by lactose, neutralizing antibody to RAGE, and the caspase-3 inhibitor z-DEVD-fmk. Galectin-3-induced apoptosis was also completely abolished by dithiothreitol and superoxide dismutase, but not inhibited by catalase. Moreover, galectin-3 but not galectin-1 induced the release of superoxide, which was blocked by lactose, anti-RAGE, and dithiothreitol. Finally, galectin-3-induced apoptosis was blocked by bongkrekic acid, an antagonist of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP), while atractyloside, an agonist of the PTP, greatly facilitated galectin-1-induced apoptosis. These data suggest that galectin-3 induces oxidative stress, PTP opening, and the caspase-dependent death pathway by binding to putative surface receptors including RAGE via the carbohydrate recognition domain.

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