A novel clinically relevant animal model for studying galectin-3 and its ligands during colon carcinogenesis

Marcelo Hill, Daniel Mazal, Verónica Andrea Biron, Laura Pereira, Luis Ubillos, Edgardo Berriel, Hafiz Ahmed, Teresa Freire, Mariella Rondán, Gerardo R. Vasta, Fu-Tong Liu, María Mercedes Iglesias, Eduardo Osinaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a multifunctional protein that plays different roles in cancer biology. To better understand the role of Gal-3 and its ligands during colon carcinogenesis, we studied its expression in tumors induced in rats treated with 1,2-dimethylhydrazine (DMH) and in human tissues. Normal colon from untreated rats showed no staining using two specific monoclonal antibodies. In contrast, morphologically normal colon from DMH-treated rats and dysplastic aberrant crypt foci were strongly stained, indicating that increased Gal-3 expression is an early event during the neoplastic transformation in colon cells. Gal-3 was weakly expressed in adenocarcinomas. Overall, the Gal-3 expression pattern observed in the DMH rat model closely resembles that displayed by human colon stained with the same antibodies. We also found that Gal-3 phosphorylation diminishes in serines while increasing in tyrosines during rat colon carcinogenesis. Finally, we showed that Gal-3-ligands expression is strikingly similar in rat and human malignant colon and in non-malignant tissues. In conclusion, the DMH-induced rat colon cancer model displays expression patterns of Gal-3 and its ligands very similar to those observed in human samples. This animal model should contribute to clarifying the role of Gal-3 in colon carcinogenesis and also to finding effective preventive cancer agents based on Gal-3 targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-565
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Animal models
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Colon cancer
  • Galectin-3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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