Expressions of Iba1 and galectin-3 (Gal-3) in thioacetamide (TAA)-induced acute rat liver lesions

Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2013 Sep;65(6):799-808. doi: 10.1016/j.etp.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1) is associated with membrane ruffling and motility of cells. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a β-galactoside binding animal lectin, and regulates fibrogenesis probably through transforming growth factor-β1. To evaluate macrophage properties, expressions of Iba1 and Gal-3 were investigated, in relation to macrophages expressing CD68 (ED1; reflecting increased phagocytosis) and CD163 (ED2; implying proinflammatory factor productions) in centrilobular lesions induced in rat livers with thioacetamide (TAA; 300 mg/kg body weight, once intraperitoneally). In agreement with expression patterns of CD68(+) and CD163(+) macrophages, cells reacting to Iba1 and Gal-3 were increased in numbers on post-injection (PI) days 1-5, peaking on day 2; thereafter, the positive cells gradually decreased to control levels until PI days 7 and 10. The increased expressions of Iba1 and Gal-3 were confirmed at mRNA levels by the RT-PCR. Double immunofluorescence staining on PI days 2 and 3 demonstrated Iba1 expression in 15-46% of CD68(+) and CD163(+) macrophages, and Gal-3 expression in 65-82% of CD68(+) and CD163(+) macrophages; Gal-3 expression was observed in 84-93% of Iba1(+) cells. Interestingly, Gal-3 was also expressed in a small number of α-smooth muscle actin-positive myofibroblasts in fibrotic lesions developed in injured centrilobular areas. These findings indicate that macrophages with various functions can participate in development of liver lesions and resultant fibrosis. Besides CD68 and CD163, Iba1 and Gal-3 immunohistochemistry for macrophages would be useful to analyze the pathogenesis behind developing hepatotoxicity.

Keywords: Fibrosis; Galectin-3; Hepatotoxicity; Iba1; Macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Galectin 3 / biosynthesis*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Thioacetamide / toxicity*


  • Aif1 protein, rat
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Galectin 3
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Thioacetamide