Galectin-3 Is Associated with Restrictive Lung Disease and Interstitial Lung Abnormalities


Ho JE, Gao W, Levy D, Santhanakrishnan R, Araki T, Rosas IO, Hatabu H, Latourelle JC, Nishino M, Dupuis J, Washko GR, O'Connor GT, Hunninghake GM. Galectin-3 Is Associated with Restrictive Lung Disease and Interstitial Lung Abnormalities. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2016;194(1):77-83.

Date Published:

2016 07 01


RATIONALE: Galectin-3 (Gal-3) has been implicated in the development of pulmonary fibrosis in experimental studies, and Gal-3 levels have been found to be elevated in small studies of human pulmonary fibrosis. OBJECTIVES: We sought to study whether circulating Gal-3 concentrations are elevated early in the course of pulmonary fibrosis. METHODS: We examined 2,596 Framingham Heart Study participants (mean age, 57 yr; 54% women; 14% current smokers) who underwent Gal-3 assessment using plasma samples and pulmonary function testing between 1995 and 1998. Of this sample, 1,148 underwent subsequent volumetric chest computed tomography. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Higher Gal-3 concentrations were associated with lower lung volumes (1.4% decrease in percentage of predicted FEV1 per 1 SD increase in log Gal-3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.8-2.0%; P < 0.001; 1.2% decrease in percentage of predicted FVC; 95% CI, 0.6-1.8%; P < 0.001) and decreased diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (2.1% decrease; 95% CI, 1.3-2.9%; P < 0.001). These associations remained significant after multivariable adjustment (P ≤ 0.008 for all). Compared with the lowest quartile, participants in the highest Gal-3 quartile were more than twice as likely to have interstitial lung abnormalities visualized by computed tomography (multivariable-adjusted odds ratio, 2.67; 95% CI, 1.49-4.76; P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Elevated Gal-3 concentrations are associated with interstitial lung abnormalities coupled with a restrictive pattern, including decreased lung volumes and altered gas exchange. These findings suggest a potential role for Gal-3 in early stages of pulmonary fibrosis.