Galectin-3 and the skin

Larissa N Larsen, Huan Yuan Chen, Jun Saegusa, Fu-Tong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Galectin-3 is highly expressed in epithelial cells including keratinocytes and is involved in the pathogenesis of inflammatory skin diseases by affecting the functions of immune cells. For example, galectin-3 can contribute to atopic dermatitis (AD) by promoting polarization toward a Th2 immune response by regulating dendritic cell (DC) and T cell functions. In addition, galectin-3 may be involved in the development of contact hypersensitivity by regulating the migratory capacity of antigen presenting cells. Galectin-3 may act as a regulator of epithelial tumor progression and development through various signaling pathways, such as inhibiting keratinocyte apoptosis through regulation of the activation status of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and activated protein kinase B (AKT). Galectin-3 is detected at different stages of melanoma development. In contrast, a marked decrease in the expression of galectin-3 is observed in non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Galectin-3 may play an important role in tumor cell growth, apoptosis, cell motility, invasion, and metastasis. Galectin-3 may be a novel therapeutic target for a variety of skin diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dermatological Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Galectins
  • Lectins
  • Skin cancer
  • Skin inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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