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J Oral Pathol Med. 2013 Feb;42(2):174-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.2012.01199.x. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

Alterations in the immunoexpression of galectins-1, -3 and -7 between different grades of oral epithelial dysplasia.

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Post-Graduate Oral Pathology Program, Dentistry Department, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil.



Oral epithelial dysplasia (OED) is a potentially malignant lesion characterized by a combination of cytological and architectural anomalies, which are essential for its diagnosis. Galectins are proteins that participate in cell cycle, adhesion and differentiation, apoptosis, and immune responses, as well as in cancer development and progression.


The aim of this study was to analyze the immunohistochemical expression of galectins-1, -3, and -7 in the OED (21 low risk and 29 high risk) and normal oral mucosa (NOM). The binary grading system was used.


Galectin-1 was expressed in the middle/lower third in most OED cases. Nuclear/cytoplasmic staining was observed in most low-risk and high-risk OEDs. All cases of NOM were negative for galectin-1. Galectin-3 was expressed in the middle/lower third in most low-risk cases. Nuclear/cytoplasmic staining was noted in most low-risk and high-risk OEDs. Middle/lower third and in membrane staining was detected in four cases of NOM for galectin-3. Galectin-7 was expressed in the upper/middle third in most of OED cases. Nuclear/cytoplasmic staining predominated in low-risk and high-risk OEDs. Galectin-7 was detected in four cases of NOM, all of them presenting staining in the upper/middle third and in the membrane.


The differences in the immunoexpression of galactin-1, -3, and -7 between different grades of OEDs suggest the involvement of this protein in the progression of dysplasias.

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