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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00379

Galectins in intestinal inflammation: Galectin-1 expression delineates response to treatment in celiac disease patients

  • 1Immunopathology, Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental (IBYME), Argentina
  • 2Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
  • 3Hospital Udaondo, Argentina
  • 4Glicómica Funcional y Molecular, Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental (IBYME), Argentina

Galectins, a family of animal lectins characterized by their affinity for N-acetyllactosamine-enriched glycoconjugates, modulate several immune cell processes shaping the course of innate and adaptive immune responses. Through interaction with a wide range of glycosylated receptors bearing complex branched N-glycans and core 2-O-glycans, these endogenous lectins trigger distinct signaling programs thereby controling immune cell activation, differentiation, recruitment and survival. Given the unique features of mucosal inflammation and the differential expression of galectins throughout the gastrointestinal tract, we discuss here key findings on the role of galectins in intestinal inflammation, particularly Crohn's disease (CD), ulcerative colitis (UC), and celiac disease (CeD) patients, as well as in murine models resembling these inflammatory conditions. In addition, we present new data highlighting the regulated expression of galectin-1 (Gal-1), a proto-type member of the galectin family, during intestinal inflammation in untreated and treated CeD patients. Our results unveil a substantial up-regulation of Gal-1 accompanying the anti-inflammatory and tolerogenic response associated with gluten-free diet (GFD) in CeD patients, suggesting a major role of this lectin in favoring resolution of inflammation and restoration of mucosal homeostasis. Thus, a coordinated network of galectins and their glycosylated ligands, exerting either anti-inflammatory or pro-inflammatory responses, may influence the interplay between intestinal epithelial cells and the highly specialized gut immune system in physiologic and pathologic settings.

Keywords: Galectins, Galectin-1, Celiac Disease, inflammatory bowel disease, mucosal inflammation

Received: 02 Dec 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Bernd Lepenies, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany

Reviewed by:

Celso A. Reis, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
Pilar Navarro, Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques, Spain  

Copyright: © 2018 Sundblad, Quintar, Morosi, Niveloni, Cabanne, Smecuol, Mauriño, MARIÑO, Bai, Maldonado and Rabinovich. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Gabriel A. Rabinovich, GABY., Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental (IBYME), Immunopathology, Vuelta de Obligado 2490, Buenos Aires, C1428, Argentina,