Background: Galectin-3 (Gal-3), a β-galactoside-binding lectin, is increased in kidney injury and its pharmacological blockade reduces renal damage in acute kidney injury, hyperaldosteronism or hypertensive nephropathy. We herein investigated the effects of pharmacological Gal-3 inhibition by modified citrus pectin (MCP) in early renal damage associated with obesity and aortic stenosis (AS).
Results: Gal-3 was upregulated in kidneys from high fat diet (HFD) rats and in animals with partial occlusion of ascending aorta (AS). Urinary and plasma neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and urinary albumin were enhanced in HFD and AS rats. In kidney from obese rats, fibrotic markers (collagen, TFG-β), epithelial-mesenchymal transition molecules (α-smooth muscle actin, E-cadherin), inflammatory mediator (osteopontin) and kidney injury marker (kidney injury molecule-1) were modified. In kidney from AS rats, fibrotic markers (collagen, CTGF), epithelial-mesenchymal transition molecules (fibronectin, α-smooth muscle actin, β-catenin, E-cadherin) and kidney injury markers (NGAL, kidney injury molecule-1) were altered. Histologic observations of obese and AS rat kidneys revealed tubulointerstitial fibrosis. The pharmacological inhibition of Gal-3 with MCP normalized renal Gal-3 levels as well as functional, histological and molecular alterations in obese and AS rats.
Conclusions: In experimental models of mild kidney damage, the increase in renal Gal-3 expression paralleled with renal fibrosis, inflammation and damage, while these alterations were prevented by Gal-3 blockade. These data suggest that Gal-3 could be a new player in renal molecular, histological and functional alterations at early stages of kidney damage.