Emerging Roles of Galectin-3 in Pulmonary Diseases

Lung. 2024 Jun 8. doi: 10.1007/s00408-024-00709-y. Online ahead of print.


Galectin-3 is a multifunctional protein that is involved in various physiological and pathological events. Emerging evidence suggests that galectin-3 also plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of pulmonary diseases. Galectin-3 can be produced and secreted by various cell types in the lungs, and the overexpression of galectin-3 has been found in acute lung injury/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ALI/ARDS), pulmonary hypertension (PH), pulmonary fibrosis diseases, lung cancer, lung infection, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. Galectin-3 exerts diverse effects on the inflammatory response, immune cell activation, fibrosis and tissue remodeling, and tumorigenesis in these pulmonary disorders, and genetic and pharmacologic modulation of galectin-3 has therapeutic effects on the treatment of pulmonary illnesses. In this review, we summarize the structure and function of galectin-3 and the underlying mechanisms of galectin-3 in pulmonary disease pathologies; we also discuss preclinical and clinical evidence regarding the therapeutic potential of galectin-3 inhibitors in these pulmonary disorders. Additionally, targeting galectin-3 may be a very promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of pulmonary diseases.

Keywords: Fibrosis; Galectin-3; Immune cell activation; Inflammatory response; Pulmonary diseases; Tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Review