Scientific article

Critical role of galectin-3 in phagocytosis by macrophages

Published inThe Journal of clinical investigation, vol. 112, no. 3, p. 389-397
Publication date2003

Galectin-3 is a member of a large family of animal lectins. This protein is expressed abundantly by macrophages, but its function in this cell type is not well understood. We have studied the effect of galectin-3 gene targeting on phagocytosis, a major function of macrophages. Compared with wild-type macrophages, galectin-3-deficient (gal3-/-) cells exhibited reduced phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized erythrocytes and apoptotic thymocytes in vitro. In addition, gal3-/- mice showed attenuated phagocytic clearance of apoptotic thymocytes by peritoneal macrophages in vivo. These mice also exhibited reduced IgG-mediated phagocytosis of erythrocytes by Kupffer cells in a murine model of autoimmune hemolytic anemia. Additional experiments indicate that extracellular galectin-3 does not contribute appreciably to the phagocytosis-promoting function of this protein. Confocal microscopic analysis of macrophages containing phagocytosed erythrocytes revealed localization of galectin-3 in phagocytic cups and phagosomes. Furthermore, gal3-/- macrophages exhibited a lower degree of actin rearrangement upon Fcgamma receptor crosslinkage. These results indicate that galectin-3 contributes to macrophage phagocytosis through an intracellular mechanism. Thus, galectin-3 may play an important role in both innate and adaptive immunity by contributing to phagocytic clearance of microorganisms and apoptotic cells.

  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune/immunology/pathology/physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Erythrocytes/immunology/physiology
  • Galectin 3/deficiency/genetics/ physiology
  • Immunoglobulin G/metabolism
  • Kupffer Cells/physiology
  • Macrophages, Peritoneal/ physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Opsonin Proteins/metabolism
  • Phagocytosis/ physiology
  • Receptors, IgG/metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes/cytology/immunology/physiology
Affiliation Not a UNIGE publication
Citation (ISO format)
SANO, Hideki et al. Critical role of galectin-3 in phagocytosis by macrophages. In: The Journal of clinical investigation, 2003, vol. 112, n° 3, p. 389–397. doi: 10.1172/JCI17592
Main files (1)
ISSN of the journal0021-9738

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