Galectin-3 preserves renal tubules and modulates extracellular matrix remodeling in progressive fibrosis

Daryl M. Okamura, Katie Pasichnyk, Jesus M. Lopez-Guisa, Sarah Collins, Daniel K. Hsu, Fu-Tong Liu, Allison A. Eddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

56 Scopus citations


Renal tubular cell apoptosis is a critical detrimental event that leads to chronic kidney injury in association with renal fibrosis. The present study was designed to investigate the role of galectin-3 (Gal-3), an important regulator of multiple apoptotic pathways, in chronic kidney disease induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). After UUO, Gal-3 expression significantly increased compared with basal levels reaching a peak increase of 95-fold by day 7. Upregulated Gal-3 is predominantly tubular at early time points after UUO but shifts to interstitial cells as the injury progresses. On day 14, there was a significant increase in TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling-positive cells (129%) and cytochrome c release (29%), and a decrease in BrdU-positive cells (62%) in Gal-3-deficient compared with wild-type mice. The degree of renal damage was more extensive in Gal-3-deficient mice at days 14 and 21, 35 and 21% increase in total collagen, respectively. Despite more severe fibrosis, myofibroblasts were significantly decreased by 58% on day 14 in the Gal-3-deficient compared with wild-type mice. There was also a corresponding 80% decrease in extracellular matrix synthesis in Gal-3-deficient compared with wild-type mice. Endo180 is a recently recognized receptor for intracellular collagen degradation that is expressed by interstitial cells during renal fibrogenesis. Endo180 expression was significantly decreased by greater than 50% in Gal-3-deficient compared with wild-type mice. Taken together, these results suggested that Gal-3 not only protects renal tubules from chronic injury by limiting apoptosis but that it may lead to enhanced matrix remodeling and fibrosis attenuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011



  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Defective tissue remodeling
  • Matrix degradation
  • Nephron loss
  • Tubular apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology

Cite this