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Cytokine. 2011 Sep;55(3):435-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2011.06.001. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Systemic and hepatic vein galectin-3 are increased in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis and negatively correlate with liver function.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, Regensburg University Hospital, D-93042 Regensburg, Germany.


Recently we demonstrated higher galectin-3 in portal venous serum (PVS) compared to hepatic venous serum (HVS) in a small cohort of patients with normal liver function suggesting hepatic removal of galectin-3. Here, galectin-3 was measured by ELISA in PVS, HVS and systemic venous blood (SVS) of 33 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis and a larger cohort of 11 patients with normal liver function. Galectin-3 was cleared by the healthy but not the cirrhotic liver, and subsequently HVS and SVS galectin-3 levels were significantly increased in the patients with liver cirrhosis compared to controls. In healthy liver galectin-3 was produced by cholangiocytes and synthesis by hepatocytes was only observed in cirrhotic liver. Hepatic venous pressure gradient did not correlate with galectin-3 levels excluding hepatic shunting as the principal cause of higher SVS galectin-3. Galectin-3 was elevated in all blood compartments of patients with CHILD-PUGH stage C compared to patients with CHILD-PUGH stage A, and was higher in patients with ascites than patients without this complication. Galectin-3 was negatively associated with antithrombin-3 whose synthesis is reduced with worse liver function. Galectin-3 positively correlated with urea and creatinine, and PVS galectin-3 showed a negative association with creatinine clearance as an accepted measure of kidney function. To summarize in the current study systemic, portal and hepatic levels of galectin-3 were found to be negatively associated with liver function in patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis and this may in part be related to impaired hepatic removal and/or increased synthesis in cirrhotic liver.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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