[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Seasonal changes in disease activity have been observed in multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder that affects the CNS. These epidemiological observations suggest that environmental factors influence the disease course. Here, we report that melatonin levels, whose production is modulated by seasonal variations in night length, negatively correlate with multiple sclerosis activity in humans. Treatment with melatonin ameliorates disease in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis and directly interferes with the differentiation of human and mouse T cells. Melatonin induces the expression of the repressor transcription factor Nfil3, blocking the differentiation of pathogenic Th17 cells and boosts the generation of protective Tr1 cells via Erk1/2 and the transactivation of the IL-10 promoter by ROR-α. These results suggest that melatonin is another example of how environmental-driven cues can impact T cell differentiation and have implications for autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Programs that control immune cell homeostasis are orchestrated through the coordinated action of a number of regulatory cell populations, including regulatory T cells, regulatory B cells, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, alternatively-activated macrophages and tolerogenic dendritic cells. These regulatory cell populations can prevent harmful inflammation following completion of protective responses and thwart the development of autoimmune pathology. However, they also have a detrimental role in cancer by favoring escape from immune surveillance. One of the hallmarks of regulatory cells is their remarkable plasticity as they can be positively or negatively modulated by a plethora of cytokines, growth factors and co-stimulatory signals that tailor their differentiation, stability and survival. Here we focus on the emerging roles of galectins, a family of highly conserved glycan-binding proteins in regulating the fate and function of regulatory immune cell populations, both of lymphoid and myeloid origins. Given the broad distribution of circulating and tissue-specific galectins, understanding the relevance of lectin-glycan interactions in shaping regulatory cell compartments will contribute to the design of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at modulating their function in a broad range of immunological disorders.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectins (Gals) have emerged as potent immunoregulatory molecules that control chronic inflammation through distinct mechanisms. Gal-8, a tandem-repeat type Gal with unique preference for α2,3-sialylated glycans, is ubiquitously expressed, but little is known about its role in T-cell differentiation. Here we report that Gal-8 promotes the polyclonal differentiation of primary mouse regulatory T (Treg) cells in vitro. We further show that Gal-8 also facilitates antigen-specific differentiation of Treg cells, and that Treg cells polarized in the presence of Gal-8 express cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 and interleukin (IL)-10 at a higher frequency than control Treg cells, and efficiently inhibit proliferation of activated T-cells in vitro. Investigation of the mechanism by which Gal-8 promotes Treg conversion revealed that Gal-8 activates transforming growth factor-β signaling and promotes sustained IL-2R signaling. Taken together, these data suggest that Gal-8 promotes the differentiation of highly suppressive Treg cells, which has implications for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.Immunology and Cell Biology advance online publication, 18 August 2015; doi:10.1038/icb.2015.72.
Immunology and Cell Biology 08/2015; DOI:10.1038/icb.2015.72 · 4.15 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a proto-type member of galectin family, is highly expressed in immune privileged sites, including the testis. However, in spite of considerable progress the relevance of endogenous and exogenous Gal-1 in testis pathophysiology have not yet been explored. Here we evaluated the in vivo roles of Gal-1 in experimental autoimmune orchitis (EAO), a well-established model of autoimmune testicular inflammation associated with subfertility and infertility. A significant reduction in the incidence and severity of EAO was observed in mice genetically deficient in Gal-1 (Lgals1(-/-)) versus wild-type (WT) mice. Testicular histopathology revealed the presence of multifocal testicular damage in WT mice characterized by an interstitial mononuclear cell infiltrate and different degrees of germ cell sloughing of seminiferous tubules. TUNEL assay and assessment of active caspase-3 expression, revealed the prevalence of apoptotic spermatocytes mainly localized in the adluminal compartment of seminiferous tubules in EAO mice. A significant increased number of TUNEL-positive germ cells was detected in EAO testis from WT compared with Lgals1(-/-) mice. In contrast, exogenous administration of recombinant Gal-1 to WT mice undergoing EAO attenuated the severity of the disease. Our results unveil a dual role of endogenous versus exogenous Gal-1 in the control of autoimmune testis inflammation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectins are a family of β-galactoside-binding lectins carrying at least one consensus sequence in the carbohydrate-recognition domain. Properties of glycosylated ligands, such as N- and O-glycan branching, LacNAc (N-acetyl-lactosamine) content and the balance of α2,3- and α2,6-linked sialic acid dramatically influence galectin binding to a preferential set of counterreceptors. The presentation of specific glycans in galectinbinding partners is also critical, as proper orientation and clustering of oligosaccharide ligands on multiple carbohydrate side chains increase the binding avidity of galectins for particular glycosylated receptors. When galectins are released from the cells, they typically concentrate on the cell surface and the local matrix, raising their local concentration. Thus galectins can form their own multimers in the extracellular milieu, which in turn cross-link glycoconjugates on the cell surface generating galectin-glycan complexes that modulate intracellular signalling pathways, thus regulating cellular processes such as apoptosis, proliferation, migration and angiogenesis. Subtle changes in receptor expression, rates of protein synthesis, activities of Golgi enzymes, metabolite concentrations supporting glycan biosynthesis, density of glycans, strength of protein-protein interactions at the plasma membrane and stoichiometry may modify galectin-glycan complexes. Although galectins are key contributors to the formation of these extended glycan complexes leading to promotion of receptor segregation/clustering, and inhibition of receptor internalization by surface retention, when these complexes are disrupted, some galectins, particularly galectin-3 and -4, showed the ability to drive clathrin-independent mechanisms of endocytosis. In the present review, we summarize the data available on the assembly, hierarchical organization and regulation of conspicuous galectin-glycan complexes, and their implications in health and disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectins have emerged as potent immunoregulatory agents that control chronic inflammation through distinct mechanisms. Here, we report that treatment with Galectin-8 (Gal-8), a tandem-repeat member of the galectin family, reduces retinal pathology and prevents photoreceptor cell damage in a murine model of experimental autoimmune uveitis. Gal-8 treatment increased the number of regulatory T cells (Treg) in both the draining lymph node (dLN) and the inflamed retina. Moreover, a greater percentage of Treg cells in the dLN and retina of Gal-8 treated animals expressed the inhibitory coreceptor cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen (CTLA)-4, the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10, and the tissue-homing integrin CD103. Treg cells in the retina of Gal-8-treated mice were primarily inducible Treg cells that lack the expression of neuropilin-1. In addition, Gal-8 treatment blunted production of inflammatory cytokines by retinal T helper type (TH) 1 and TH17 cells. The effect of Gal-8 on T cell differentiation and/or function was specific for tissues undergoing an active immune response, as Gal-8 treatment had no effect on T cell populations in the spleen. Given the need for rational therapies for managing human uveitis, Gal-8 emerges as an attractive therapeutic candidate not only for treating retinal autoimmune diseases, but also for other TH1- and TH17-mediated inflammatory disorders.
PLoS ONE 06/2015; 10(6):e0130772. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0130772 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Galectin-1 (Gal1), a β-galactoside-binding protein abundantly expressed in tumor microenvironments, is associated with the development of metastasis in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). However, the precise roles of Gal1 in HCC cell invasiveness and dissemination are uncertain. Here, we investigated whether Gal1 mediate epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in HCC cells, a key process during cancer progression. We used the well-differentiated and low invasive HepG2 cells and performed 'gain-of-function' and 'loss-function' experiments by transfecting cells with Gal1 cDNA constructs or by siRNA strategies, respectively. Epithelial and mesenchymal markers expression, changes in apico-basal polarity, independent-anchorage growth and activation of specific signaling pathways were studied using Western blot, fluorescence microscopy, soft-agar assays and FOP/TOP flash reporter system. Gal1 up-regulation in HepG2 cells induced down-regulation of the adherens junction protein E-cadherin and increased expression of the transcription factor Snail, one of the main inducers of EMT in HCC. Enhanced Gal1 expression facilitated the transition from epithelial cell morphology towards a fibroblastoid phenotype and favored up-regulation of the mesenchymal marker vimentin in HCC cells. Cells overexpressing Gal1 showed enhanced anchorage-independent growth and loss of apico-basal polarity. Remarkably, Gal1 promoted Akt activation, β-catenin nuclear translocation, TCF4/LEF1 transcriptional activity and increased cyclin D1 and c-Myc expression, suggesting activation of the Wnt pathway. Furthermore, Gal1 overexpression induced E-cadherin downregulation through a PI3K/Akt-dependent mechanism. Our results provide the first evidence of a role of Gal1 as an inducer of EMT in HCC cells, with critical implications in HCC metastasis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims:
Galectin-3 (Gal-3) and carbohydrate antigen 125 (CA125) have emerged as robust prognostic biomarkers in heart failure. Experimental data have also suggested a potential molecular interaction between CA125 and Gal-3; however, the biological and clinical relevance of this interaction is still uncertain. We sought to evaluate, in patients admitted for acute heart failure, the association between plasma Gal-3 with all-cause mortality and the risk for rehospitalizations among high and low levels of CA125.
Methods and results:
We included 264 consecutive patients admitted for acute heart failure to the Cardiology Department in a third-level center. Both biomarkers were measured on admission. Negative binomial and Cox regression models were used to evaluate the prognostic effect of the interaction between Gal-3 and CA125 (dichotomized by its median) with hospital readmission and all-cause mortality, respectively. During a median follow-up of 2 years (IQR = 1-2.8), 108 (40.9%) patients deaths and 365 rehospitalizations in 171 (69.5%) patients were registered. In a multivariable setting, the effect of Gal-3 on mortality and rehospitalization was differentially mediated by CA125 (p = 0.007 and p<0.001, respectively). Indeed, in patients with CA125 above median (>67 U/ml), values across the continuum of Gal-3 showed a positive and almost linear relationship with either the risk of death or rehospitalization. Conversely, when CA125 was below median (≤67 U/ml), Gal-3 lacked any prognostic effect on both endpoints.
In patients with acute heart failure, Gal-3 was strongly associated with higher risk of long-term mortality and repeated rehospitalizations, but only in those patients exhibiting higher values of CA125 (above 67 U/ml).
PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0122360. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0122360 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the past decade, a better understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying tumor immunity has provided the appropriate framework for the development of therapeutic strategies for cancer immunotherapy. Under this complex scenario, galectins have emerged as promising molecular targets for cancer therapy responsible of creating immunosuppressive microenvironments at sites of tumor growth and metastasis. Galectins, expressed in tumor, stromal, and endothelial cells, contribute to thwart the development of immune responses by favoring the expansion of T regulatory cells and contributing to their immunosuppressive activity, driving the differentiation of tolerogenic dendritic cells, limiting T cell viability, and maintaining T cell anergy. The emerging data promise a future scenario in which the selective blockade of individual members of the galectin family, either alone or in combination with other therapeutic regimens, will contribute to halt tumor progression by counteracting tumor-immune escape. Here we describe a selection of methods used to investigate the role of galectin-1 in tumor-immune escape.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Platelets are anucleated blood cells derived from megakaryocytes, and although they are essential for proper hemostasis, their function extends to physiologic processes such as tissue repair, wound remodeling, and antimicrobial host defense, or pathologic conditions such as thrombosis, atherosclerosis, chronic inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Recently, we demonstrated that two structurally divergent members of the galectin family, galectin-1 and galectin-8, are potent platelet agonists. The emergence of galectins as soluble mediators capable of triggering platelet activation opens a new field of research that will provide further insights into the mechanisms linking inflammatory responses to thrombus formation and could expand our view of the role of platelets much beyond hemostasis to their pathophysiologic role during inflammation and cancer. The present article details the various protocols and reagents currently used in our laboratory to study the role of galectins in human platelet function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Formation of an aberrant and heterogeneous vascular network is a key pathological event in the multistep process of tumor growth and metastasis. Pro-angiogenic factors are synthesized and released from tumor, stromal, endothelial, and myeloid cells in response to hypoxic and immunosuppressive microenvironments which are commonly found during cancer progression. Emerging data indicate key roles for galectins, particularly galectin-1, -3, -8, and -9 in the regulation of angiogenesis in different pathophysiologic settings. Each galectin interacts with a preferred set of glycosylated receptors, triggers different signaling pathway, and promotes sprouting angiogenesis through different mechanisms. Understanding the role of galectins in tumor neovascularization will contribute to the design of novel anti-angiogenic therapies aimed at complementing current clinical approaches. Here we describe selected strategies and methods used to study the galectin-1 regulation by hypoxia and its role in blood vessel formation.