Galectin-7 Impairs Placentation and Causes Preeclampsia Features in Mice

Hypertension. 2020 Oct;76(4):1185-1194. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.15313. Epub 2020 Aug 31.


Preeclampsia is a serious pregnancy-induced disorder unique to humans. The etiology of preeclampsia is poorly understood; however, poor placental formation is thought causal. Galectin-7 is produced by trophoblast and is elevated in first-trimester serum of women who subsequently develop preeclampsia. We hypothesized that elevated placental galectin-7 may be causative of preeclampsia. Here, we demonstrated increased galectin-7 production in chorionic villous samples from women who subsequently develop preterm preeclampsia compared with uncomplicated pregnancies. In vitro, galectin-7 impaired human first-trimester trophoblast outgrowth, increased placental production of the antiangiogenic sFlt-1 splice variant, sFlt-1-e15a, and reduced placental production and secretion of ADAM12 (a disintegrin and metalloproteinase12) and angiotensinogen. In vivo, galectin-7 administration (E8-E12) to pregnant mice caused elevated systolic blood pressure, albuminuria, impaired placentation (reduced labyrinth vascular branching, impaired decidual spiral artery remodeling, and a proinflammatory placental state demonstrated by elevated IL1β, IL6 and reduced IL10), and dysregulated expression of renin-angiotensin system components in the placenta, decidua, and kidney, including angiotensinogen, prorenin, and the angiotensin II type 1 receptor. Collectively, this study demonstrates that elevated galectin-7 during placental formation contributes to abnormal placentation and suggests that it leads to the development of preeclampsia via altering placental production of sFlt-1 and renin-angiotensin system components. Targeting galectin-7 may be a new treatment option for preeclampsia.

Keywords: angiotensinogen; disintegrin; mice; placentation; pre-eclampsia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ADAM12 Protein / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Chorionic Villi / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Galectins / genetics
  • Galectins / metabolism*
  • Galectins / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Placentation / drug effects*
  • Pre-Eclampsia / genetics
  • Pre-Eclampsia / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects
  • Trophoblasts / drug effects
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism


  • Galectins
  • LGALS7 protein, human
  • ADAM12 Protein