A novel biological activity for galectin-1: inhibition of leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions in experimental inflammation

Am J Pathol. 2003 Oct;163(4):1505-15. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9440(10)63507-9.


Galectin-1 (Gal-1), the prototype of a family of beta-galactoside-binding proteins, has been shown to attenuate experimental acute and chronic inflammation. In view of the fact that endothelial cells (ECs), but not human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs), expressed Gal-1 we tested here the hypothesis that the protein could modulate leukocyte-EC interaction in inflammatory settings. In vitro, human recombinant (hr) Gal-1 inhibited PMN chemotaxis and trans-endothelial migration. These actions were specific as they were absent if Gal-1 was boiled or blocked by neutralizing antiserum. In vivo, hrGal-1 (optimum effect at 0.3 micro g equivalent to 20 pmol) inhibited interleukin-1beta-induced PMN recruitment into the mouse peritoneal cavity. Intravital microscopy analysis showed that leukocyte flux, but not their rolling velocity, was decreased by an anti-inflammatory dose of hrGal-1. Binding of biotinylated Gal-1 to resting and postadherent human PMNs occurred at concentrations inhibitory in the chemotaxis and transmigration assays. In addition, the pattern of Gal-1 binding was differentially modulated by PMN or EC activation. In conclusion, these data suggest the existence of a previously unrecognized function of Gal-1, that is inhibition of leukocyte rolling and extravasation in experimental inflammation. It is possible that endogenous Gal-1 may be part of a novel anti-inflammatory loop in which the endothelium is the source of the protein and the migrating PMNs the target for its anti-inflammatory action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Communication* / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Galectin 1 / administration & dosage
  • Galectin 1 / metabolism*
  • Galectin 1 / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Injections
  • Interleukin-1 / administration & dosage
  • Interleukin-8 / pharmacology
  • Leukocyte Rolling / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Neutrophils* / pathology
  • Peritonitis / chemically induced
  • Peritonitis / pathology
  • Peritonitis / physiopathology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology


  • Galectin 1
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-8
  • Recombinant Proteins