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Med Mycol. 2013 Aug;51(6):641-51. doi: 10.3109/13693786.2013.770607. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Galectin-3 plays an important role in protection against disseminated candidiasis.

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Graduate Program in Pathobiology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02905, USA.


Recent in vitro studies have implicated galectin-3 as an important receptor in host recognition and response to specific Candida species; however, its role in protection against disseminated candidiasis in vivo has not been evaluated. This study investigated the importance of galectin-3 in host defense against systemic infection with the highly virulent species Candida albicans, and the less virulent species, C. parapsilosis. Mice deficient in galectin-3 (gal3-/-) were more susceptible to infection than wild-type (WT) mice. When infected with C. albicans, gal3-/- mice died significantly faster and exhibited a trend towards increased fungal burden and increased abscess formation in infected brains compared to WT mice. When infected with C. parapsilosis, gal3-/- mice had significantly higher renal fungal burdens and abscess formation compared to WT mice. To evaluate whether galectin-3 may contribute to susceptibility to candidiasis in human infants, galectin-3 levels in sera of newborn infants, a patient population uniquely susceptible to infections with both C. albicans and C. parapsilosis, were compared to serum galectin-3 levels of adults. Galectin-3 levels were significantly lower in newborn infant sera compared to adult sera. These data indicate that galectin-3 plays an important role in a murine model of disseminated candidiasis and suggest a potential mechanism of neonatal susceptibility to these infections.

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