Aberrant expression and hormonal regulation of Galectin-3 in endometriosis women with infertility

J Endocrinol Invest. 2016 Jul;39(7):785-91. doi: 10.1007/s40618-016-0435-7. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Objective: To investigate the role and potential molecular mechanism of Galectin-3 (Gal-3) in the etiology of endometriosis-associated infertility.

Methods: We detected Gal-3 expression in eutopic endometrium from women with endometriosis-associated infertility and healthy women without endometriosis or infertility. We then evaluated Gal-3 expression in endometrial glandular epithelial cells (EECs) and endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) and investigated its response to hormone stimulation in EECs and ESCs from both groups of women.

Results: Results of real-time PCR and western blot analysis showed Gal-3 expression in both proliferative and secretory stages of the menstrual cycle decreased significantly in women with endometriosis-associated infertility compared to healthy women. The changes in expression of Gal-3 were more dramatic in EECs than ESCs. Moreover, estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) induced Gal-3 expression in EECs of healthy groups, and P4 was more significant than E2 and combined E2 and P4 (E2P4). However, in the endometriosis group, P4 failed to induce a similar increase in Gal-3 expression.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that aberrant expression of Gal-3 might contribute to infertility in patients with endometriosis due to progesterone resistance.

Keywords: Endometriosis; Galectin-3 (Gal-3); Sex hormone; Uterine receptivity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis*
  • Endometriosis / etiology
  • Endometriosis / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Galectin 3 / genetics
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Infertility / complications*
  • Infertility / drug therapy
  • Infertility / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • Stromal Cells / drug effects
  • Stromal Cells / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Estrogens
  • Galectin 3
  • Estradiol