Functions of galectin-3 and its role in fibrotic diseases

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 Nov;351(2):336-43. doi: 10.1124/jpet.114.218370. Epub 2014 Sep 5.


Fibrotic diseases occur in a variety of organs and lead to continuous organ injury, function decline, and even failure. Currently effective treatment options are limited. Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a pleiotropic lectin that plays an important role in cell proliferation, adhesion, differentiation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. Accumulating evidence indicates that Gal-3 activates a variety of profibrotic factors, promotes fibroblast proliferation and transformation, and mediates collagen production. Recent studies have defined key roles for Gal-3 in fibrogenesis in diverse organ systems, including liver, kidney, lung, and myocardial. To help set the stage for future research, we review recent advances about the role played by Gal-3 in fibrotic diseases. Herein we discuss the potential profibrotic role of Gal-3, inhibition of which may represent a promising therapeutic strategy against tissue fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Galectin 3