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Brain Res. 2011 Mar 25;1382:266-74. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2011.01.049. Epub 2011 Jan 22.

Galectin-3 expression in delayed neuronal death of hippocampal CA1 following transient forebrain ischemia, and its inhibition by hypothermia.

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Department of Tumor Pathology, Gifu University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.


The ischemic damage in the hippocampal CA1 sector following transient ischemia, delayed neuronal death, is a typical apoptosis, but the mechanism underlying the delayed neuronal death is still far from fully understood. Galectin-3 is a β-galactosidase-binding lectin which is important in cell proliferation and apoptotic regulation. Galectin-3 is expressed by microglial cells in experimental models of adult stroke. It has been reported that activated microglial cells are widely observed in the brain, including in the hippocampal CA1 region after transient ischemic insult. In the present study, time course expression of galectin-3 following transient forebrain ischemia in gerbils was examined by immunohistochemistry, combined with Iba-1 immunostaining (a specific microglial cell marker), hematoxylin and eosin staining (for morphological observation), and in situ terminal dUTP-biotin nick end labeling of DNA fragments method (for determination of cell death). Following transient ischemia, we observed a transient increase of galectin-3 expression in CA1 region, which was maximal 96h after reperfusion. Galectin-3 expression was predominately localized within CA1 region and observed only in cells which expressed Iba-1. The galectin-3-positive microglial cells emerge after the onset of neuronal cell damage. Expressions of galectin-3 and Iba-1 were strongly reduced by hypothermia during ischemic insult. Prevention of galectin-3 and Iba-1 expression in microglia by hypothermia has led us to propose that hypothermia either inhibits microglial activation or prevents delayed neuronal death itself. Our results indicate that galectin-3 might exert its effect by modulating the neuronal damage in delayed neuronal death.

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