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J Histochem Cytochem. 2005 Nov;53(11):1323-34. Epub 2005 Jun 13.

Differential cellular expression of galectin family mRNAs in the epithelial cells of the mouse digestive tract.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cytology and Histology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Kita 15-Nishi 7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060-8638, Japan.


Galectin is an animal lectin that recognizes beta-galactosides of glycoconjugates and is abundant in the gut. This study revealed the cellular expression of galectin subtypes throughout the mouse digestive tract by in situ hybridization. Signals for five subtypes (galectin-2, -3, -4/6, and -7) were detected exclusively in the epithelia. In the glandular stomach, galectin-2 and -4/6 were predominantly expressed from gastric pits to neck of gastric glands, where mucous cells were the main cellular sources. The small intestine exhibited intense, maturation-associated expressions of galectin-2, -3, and -4/6 mRNAs. Galectin-2 was intensely expressed from crypts to the base of villi, whereas transcripts of galectin-3 gathered at villous tips. Signals for galectin-4/6 were most intense at the lower half of villi. Galectin-2 was also expressed in goblet cells of the small intestine but not in those of the large intestine. In the large intestine, galectin-4/6 predominated, and the upper half of crypts simultaneously contained transcripts of galectin-3. Stratified epithelium from the lip to forestomach and anus intensely expressed galectin-7 with weak expressions of galectin-3. Because galectins in the digestive tract may be multi-functional, information on their cell/stage-specific expression contributes to a better understanding of the functions and pathological involvements of galectins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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