Objective: Galectin-3, a lectin with specificity for beta galactoside, is expressed by a variety of cells, including intestinal epithelial cells. Among other functions, galectin-3 mediates cell adhesion and is involved in inflammatory processes. In this study, we assessed the expression of galectin-3 in intestinal epithelial cells from Crohn's disease patients (n = 10), ileum adjacent to resected colon carcinoma (n = 9), unspecific bowel inflammation (n = 1), diverticulosis (n = 1), ulcerative colitis (n = 3) and healthy jejunum used for interposition in larynx carcinoma (n = 1). The role of cytokines on galectin-3 expression was a further aim of our study. Methods: The galectin-3 distribution in intestinal epithelia was analysed by immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, immunofluorescence and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Human intestinal epithelial cell line (HCT-8) and primary cultured intestinal epithelial cells were treated with cytokines, and the effects on galectin-3 expression were determined by RT-PCR. Results: Galectin-3 showed a homogeneous distribution in epithelia from control patients. In contrast, in epithelial cells from Crohn's disease lesions, galectin-3 staining was strongly spotted and heterogeneous. In inflamed and reorganized tissue, galectin-3 expression was markedly reduced, and was associated with disintegration of epithelia. Primary cultured epithelial cells as well as HCT-8 cells expressed galectin-3 protein and mRNA. Incubation of HCT-8 cells with tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), but not with other cytokines, substantially reduced galectin-3 expression as shown by semiquantitative RT-PCR. Conclusions: Downregulation of galectin-3 in the intestinal epithelium of Crohn's disease patients may be a consequence of enhanced TNF-α production by inflammatory cells, thereby contributing to the pathophysiology of the disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology|
|State||Published - 2002|
- Epithelial cells
- Inflammatory bowel disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas