Association between Galectin Levels and Neurodegenerative Diseases: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Biomolecules. 2022 Jul 31;12(8):1062. doi: 10.3390/biom12081062.


Galectins are a family of proteins with an affinity for β-galactosides that have roles in neuroprotection and neuroinflammation. Several studies indicate that patients with neurodegenerative diseases have alterations in the concentration of galectins in their blood and brain. However, the results of the studies are contradictory; hence, a meta-analysis is performed to clarify whether patients with neurodegenerative diseases have elevated galectin levels compared to healthy individuals. Related publications are obtained from the databases: PubMed, Central-Conchrane, Web of Science database, OVID-EMBASE, Scope, and EBSCO host until February 2022. A pooled standard mean difference (SMD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) is calculated by fixed-effect or random-effect model analysis. In total, 17 articles are included in the meta-analysis with a total of 905 patients. Patients with neurodegenerative diseases present a higher level of galectin expression compared to healthy individuals (MDS = 0.70, 95% CI 0.28-1.13, p = 0.001). In the subgroup analysis by galectin type, a higher galectin-3 expression is observed in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALD), and Parkinson's disease (PD) expressed higher levels of galectin-3. Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have higher levels of galectin-9. In conclusion, our meta-analysis shows that patients with neurovegetative diseases have higher galectin levels compared to healthy individuals. Galectin levels are associated with the type of disease, sample, detection technique, and region of origin of the patients.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; galectin; multiple sclerosis; neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis*
  • Galectin 3
  • Galectins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases*


  • Galectin 3
  • Galectins

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.