Increased galectin-3 levels are associated with abdominal aortic aneurysm progression and inhibition of galectin-3 decrease elastase-induced AAA development.
Clin Sci (Lond). 2017 Oct 5. Epub 2017 Oct 5. PMID: 28982723
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) evolution is unpredictable. Moreover, no specific treatment exists for AAA, except surgery to prevent aortic rupture. Galectin-3 has been previously associated with CVD, but its potential role in AAA have not been addressed. Galectin-3 levels were increased in plasma of AAA patients (n=225) compared to controls (n=100). Moreover, galectin-3 concentrations were associated with need for surgical repair, independently of potential confounding factors. Galectin-3 mRNA and protein expression were increased in human AAA samples compared to healthy aortas. Experimental AAA in mice was induced by aortic elastase perfusion. Mice were treated i.v. with the galectin-3 inhibitor modified citrus pectin (MCP, 10mg/kg, every other day) or saline. Similar to humans, galectin-3 serum and aortic mRNA levels were also increased in elastase-induced AAA mice compared to control mice. Mice treated with MCP showed decreased aortic dilation, as well as elastin degradation, VSMC loss and macrophage content at day 14 post-elastase perfusion compared with control mice. The underlying mechanism(s) of the protective effect of MCP was associated to a decrease in galectin-3 and cytokine (mainly CCL5) mRNA and protein expression. Interestingly, galectin-3 induced CCL5 expression by a mechanism involving STAT3 activation in VSMC. Accordingly, MCP treatment decreased STAT3 phosphorylation in elastase-induced AAA. In conclusion, increased galectin-3 levels are associated with AAA progression, while galectin-3 inhibition decreased experimental AAA development. Our data suggest the potential role of galectin-3 as a therapeutic target in AAA.