Stress-induced galectin-1 influences immune tolerance in the spleen and thymus by modulating CD45 immunoreactive lymphocytes

J Physiol Sci. 2017 Jul;67(4):489-496. doi: 10.1007/s12576-016-0478-8. Epub 2016 Aug 29.


Galectin-1 (Gal-1) is differentially expressed in normal and pathological tissues and regulates immune cell homeostasis. Restraint stress increases serum Gal-1 in rats. However, the function of stress-induced Gal-1 in serum is unknown. We determined if stress-induced Gal-1 in serum accumulates in immunocompetent organs as protection from physiological and/or psychological stress. Western blotting showed that the intensity of Gal-1 bands in stressed groups was significantly higher than that in controls. RT-PCR analysis indicated that the Gal-1 mRNA level did not increase after restraint stress. The numbers of Gal-1 immunoreactive cells in the splenic periarterial lymphatic sheath (PLS) and the thymus medulla of the stressed group were increased compared with those in controls. Furthermore, stress-induced Gal-1 immunoreactive cells corresponded to CD45 immunoreactive lymphocytes (CD45+) in the PLS of the spleen and the medulla of the thymus. Thus, stress-induced Gal-1 immediately accumulates in the spleen and thymus, and may modulate the immune response through apoptosis by binding to CD45+ lymphocytes in immune organs following physiological and/or psychological stress.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Galectin-1; Spleen; Stress; Thymus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Galectin 1 / blood*
  • Galectin 1 / genetics
  • Galectin 1 / immunology
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / metabolism*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / metabolism*
  • Stress, Psychological / genetics
  • Stress, Psychological / immunology
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Galectin 1
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Ptprc protein, rat