High Plasma Levels of Galectin-3 Are Associated With Increased Risk for Stroke After Carotid Endarterectomy

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2016;41(3-4):199-203. doi: 10.1159/000443022. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Background: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) has been suggested to have both pro- and anti-atherogenic properties. High plasma Gal-3 levels are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) death. However, it has so far not been investigated if plasma Gal-3 levels can predict the risk for future stroke in patients suffering from carotid atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Gal-3 could be used as a marker to predict postoperative cerebrovascular ischemic events among patients who underwent carotid endarterectomy (CEA).

Methods: Plasma samples were obtained from 558 CEA patients and Gal-3 levels were analyzed by the proximity extension assay technique. The Swedish national in-patient health register was used to identify postoperative cerebrovascular events during the follow-up period (42.6 ± 26.2 months).

Results: Plasma Gal-3 was increased in patients treated for a symptomatic carotid stenosis (p = 0.013). Patients with Gal-3 levels above the median value had an increased incidence of stroke as shown by Kaplan-Meier curves of event-free survival (p = 0.007). Gal-3 was a predictor of postoperative stroke among women (hazard ratio 15.1, 95% CI 1.3-172.2; p = 0.028) even after correction for traditional CV risk factors.

Conclusions: This study is the first to show that increased plasma levels of Gal-3 can help in predicting the occurrence of postoperative strokes among female subjects who undergo CEA, independently of traditional risk factors for cerebrovascular disease. This finding suggests that Gal-3 could be used as a marker to identify patients in need of intensified postoperative medical care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / mortality*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid / adverse effects*
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid / methods
  • Female
  • Galectin 3 / blood*
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / metabolism*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Galectin 3