Galectin-8 Ameliorates Murine Autoimmune Ocular Pathology and Promotes a Regulatory T Cell Response

PLoS One. 2015 Jun 30;10(6):e0130772. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130772. eCollection 2015.


Galectins have emerged as potent immunoregulatory agents that control chronic inflammation through distinct mechanisms. Here, we report that treatment with Galectin-8 (Gal-8), a tandem-repeat member of the galectin family, reduces retinal pathology and prevents photoreceptor cell damage in a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveitis. Gal-8 treatment increased the number of regulatory T cells (Treg) in both the draining lymph node (dLN) and the inflamed retina. Moreover, a greater percentage of Treg cells in the dLN and retina of Gal-8 treated animals expressed the inhibitory coreceptor cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4, the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and the tissue-homing integrin CD103. Treg cells in the retina of Gal-8-treated mice were primarily inducible Treg cells that lack the expression of neuropilin-1. In addition, Gal-8 treatment blunted production of inflammatory cytokines by retinal T helper type (TH) 1 and TH17 cells. The effect of Gal-8 on T cell differentiation and/or function was specific for tissues undergoing an active immune response, as Gal-8 treatment had no effect on T cell populations in the spleen. Given the need for rational therapies for managing human uveitis, Gal-8 emerges as an attractive therapeutic candidate not only for treating retinal autoimmune diseases, but also for other TH1- and TH17-mediated inflammatory disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • CTLA-4 Antigen / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Galectins / immunology*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / immunology
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Integrin alpha Chains / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Neuropilin-1 / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Uveitis / immunology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Ctla4 protein, mouse
  • Galectins
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • alpha E integrins
  • galectin-8, mouse
  • Interleukin-10
  • Neuropilin-1